Who is anti-national, Tipu Sultan or 'Veer' Savarkar?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

cases of Tipu Sultan and Veer Savarkar writes Justice Katju

Many Hindus regard Indian Muslims as anti-national. But is that true?

I have often stated that unity of Indians is vital at this stage of our country's history, and the real anti-nationals are those who polarise our society, and divide our people.

From that viewpoint, let us consider the cases of Tipu Sultan and Veer Savarkar.

About Tipu Sultan, I have written these articles:

Does this show that Tipu hated Hindus, wanted to polarise society, and was therefore anti-national ? On the contrary, he gave annual grants to several Hindu temples in his kingdom, sent help to the Shankaracharya of Sringeri when the latter was in difficulty, his Prime Minister and commander-in-chief of his army were Hindus, etc.

On the other hand, what is the truth about 'Veer' Savarkar ? The truth is that except in his early years he was highly communal and anti-Muslim.

So being a nationalist or anti-national has nothing to do with being Hindu or Muslim. It depends on whether one is keeping people united, or is polarising them.

The great Mughal Emperor Akbar, though a Muslim, was a nationalist, as he united the people

But Jinnah, another Muslim (though non practising), who was earlier a secular nationalist, later became highly communal and anti-national, serving the British policy of divide and rule, and advocating partition of India on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory

Maulana Azad, a practising Muslim (unlike Jinnah who was Muslim only in name, and yet claimed to champion the cause of Muslims), was a nationalist, as he strongly opposed Partition of India

My journalist friend Sajjad Azhar Pirzada is a nationalist, though a Pakistani

Casteist and communal people are the real anti-nationals, and must be exposed as such, and combated.

Today, a true nationalist is one who wants to abolish the massive poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, lack of proper healthcare and good education, etc among our masses, and wishes india to arise as a mighty modern industrial giant, like another China, with our people enjoying a high standard of living and leading decent lives.

This is possible only if our people rise above casteism and communalism, become united, and wage a historical people's struggle under patriotic, modern-minded leaders determined to set up a political and social order under which India rapidly modernises and industrialises so that our people get prosperous lives.
(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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