New Delhi: The national memorial and museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi has brought out a special edition of its monthly magazine dedicated to Hindutva leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, drawing criticism from Opposition leaders.
according to the Hinduthe June issue of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti’s (GSDS) Hindi language magazine, Antim Jan, features Savarkar on the cover. The issue includes articles re-printed from the works of Gandhi on religious tolerance, Savarkar on Hindutva and late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Savarkar.
The magazine has extracted a portion from Savarkar’s book Hindutva for an article with the same title, the newspaper reported.
In the views section, it has the magazine editor, Praveen Dutt Sharma’s article “Gandhi ka Gussa” (Gandhi’s anger).
The June issue of Gandhi Smriti & Darshan Samiti’s magazine, Antim Jan, features #Savarkar on the cover and articles re-printed from the works of Gandhi on religious tolerance, Savarkar on Hindutva and late PM Vajpayee on Savarkar | @DaminiNath @jigeesham
— The Hindu (@the_hindu) July 16, 2022
It also includes articles by other writers such as “Mahatma Gandhi Hatya Abhiog” (Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination cace) by Dr. Shreerang Godbole; “Gandhi evam Savarkar ka sambandh” (Relationship between Gandhi and Savarkar) by Dr. Major Madhusudan Cherekar; “Veer Savarkar ka Etihasik Nyay Kab” (The historical justice of Savarkar) by Umesh Chaturvedi, among others.
GSDS vice-chairperson Vijay Goel told The Hindu on Friday, June 15, that the magazine’s theme was dedicated to Savarkar as his birth anniversary was on May 28. “Veer Savarkar was a great man. So was Gandhi, so was Patel. We have to learn from their sacrifice. No one else spent as much time behind bars as Savarkar during the British rule.”
Asked about the controversy surrounding Savarkar’s mercy petitions to the British while in jail, Goel said the issue was always raised by “those who have not sacrificed at all.”
Goel’s essay on Savarkar titled “Mahaan Deshbhakt Veer Savarkar (Patriot Veer Savarkar)” has also been included in the June issue of the magazine.
Reacting to the magazine’s theme, Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson and author of Let’s Kill Gandhi!: A Chronicle of His Last Days, the Conspiracy, Murder, Investigation, Trials and the Kapur Commission told the daily that it was a “travesty”.
“It is going to happen more and more with this administration that is controlling the Gandhian institutions. That is where the danger of political ideology overpowering the ideology of Gandhi exists. We have been protesting against that. It also shows their desperation to equate Savarkar with Gandhi. It shows how frivolous and shaky their conviction about Savarkar is. This is all very planned strategy of corrupting Gandhian ideology and creating a new narrative which is convenient for the present regime,” Gandhi said.
The GSDS is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Samiti oversees Gandhi Smriti – where Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 and converted into a museum dedicated to him. It also oversees the Gandhi Darshan, which is the memorial at Rajghat.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, told the daily that the Union government was trying to subvert the institution of Gandhi Smriti as it was doing to other institutions. “Savarkar is being lionised. This is the agenda of the RSS. But history speaks volumes of Savarkar’s stand towards British imperialism. The history of the country is being distorted to satisfy the present government. This is very unfortunate.”
Author and journalist Dhirendra K. Jha, who published a book last year titled Gandhi’s Assassin: The Making Of Nathuram Godse And His Idea Of Indiasaid Savarkar was an accused in Gandhi’s assassination, although he was let off because charges against him were not corroborated.
“But at that time, the conspiracy angle of Gandhi’s murder was not investigated properly. Kapur Commission of inquiry to investigate the conspiracy behind the murder of Gandhi was set up much later in 1966. The commission clearly said that Savarkar and a group of people under him planned to kill Gandhi. The benefit of doubt Savarkar got during the murder trial should not be seen as complete acquittal for Savarkar,” Jha told the newspaper.