the recent guillotine of the Article 370, the Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav
while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices
of Dr Syam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for
its removal. It is to be noted that Dr. Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was
groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.
On the eve of 77th anniversary of the glorious Quit
India Movement [QIM] we must evaluate the role of the above Hindutva
flag-bearers in India’s anti-colonial freedom struggle. QIM also known as
‘August Kranti’ (August Revolution) was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience
Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of
the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi’s
call to Do or Die in his Quit India speech delivered in Mumbai at the Gowalia
Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti
The British swiftly responded with mass detentions on
August 8th itself. Over 100,000 arrests were made which included the total top leadership
of Congress including Gandhi, mass fines were levied and demonstrators were
subjected to public flogging. Hundreds of civilians were killed in violence,
many shot by the police and army. Many national leaders went underground and
continued their struggle by broadcasting messages over clandestine radio
stations, distributing pamphlets and establishing parallel governments.
Innumerable patriotic Indians were shot dead for the crime that they were
holding Tricolour publically. Even before that a terrible massacre took place
in Mysore where the armed forces of Mysore Raja who was very close to Hindu
Mahasabha and RSS shot dead 22 Congress activists for saluting Tricolour.
It is to be noted that after declaring Congress an
anti-national and unlawful organization, the British masters allowed only Hindu
Mahasabha and the Muslim League to function.
Most of us know that the then Communist Party of India
opposed the QIM thus betraying a great phase of mass upsurge in the history of
the freedom struggle. But it is well documented that despite CPI’s call for
keeping aloof from QIM large number of Communist activists participated in it.
However, what role the then Hindutva camp—consisting of the Hindu Mahasabha and
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh —played in the QIM is under wraps for reasons
unknown. The Hindutva camp not only opposed QIM but also provided multi-faceted
and multi-dimensional support to the British rulers in suppressing this
historic mass upsurge. In this connection, shocking documents are available;
these should be read to be believed.
‘VEER’ SAVARKAR LED HINDU MAHASABHA JOINED HANDS WITH
THE BRITISH RULERS TO SUPRESS IT
While addressing the 24th session of the Hindu
Mahasabha at Cawnpore (now Kanpur) in 1942, Savarkar outlined the strategy of
the Hindu Mahasabha of co-operating with the rulers in the following words:
“The Hindu Mahasabha holds that the leading principle
of all practical politics is the policy of Responsive Co-operation. And in
virtue of it, it believes that all those Hindu Sangathanists who are working as
councillors, ministers, legislators and conducting any municipal or any public
bodies with a view to utilize those centres of government power to safeguard
and even promote the legitimate interests of the Hindus without, of course,
encroaching on the legitimate interests of others are rendering a highly
patriotic service to our nation. Knowing the limitations under which they work,
the Mahasabha only expects them to do whatever good they can under the
circumstances and if they do not fail to do that much it would thank them for
having acquitted themselves well. The limitations are bound to get themselves
limited step by step till they get altogether eliminated. The policy of
responsive co-operation which covers the whole gamut of patriotic activities
from unconditional co-operation right up to active and even armed resistance,
will also keep adapting itself to the exigencies of the time, resources at our
disposal and dictates of our national interest.” [Italics as in the original][i]
This ‘Responsive Cooperation’ with the British masters
was not only a theoretical commitment. It soon got concretized in the ganging
up of Hindu Mahasabha with the Muslim League. Hindu Mahasabha led by ‘Veer’
Savarkar ran coalition governments with Muslim League in 1942. Savarkar
defended this nexus in his presidential speech in the same session of Hindu
Mahasabha at Kanpur, in the following words:
“In practical politics also the Mahasabha knows that
we must advance through reasonable compromises. Witness the fact that only
recently in Sind, the Sind-Hindu-Sabha on invitation had taken the
responsibility of joining hands with the League itself in running coalition
Government. The case of Bengal is well known. Wild Leaguers whom even the
Congress with all its submissive-ness could not placate grew quite reasonably
compromising and socialable as soon as they came in contact with the HM and the
Coalition Government, under the premiership of Mr. Fazlul Huq and the able lead
of our esteemed Mahasabha leader Dr Syama Prasad Mookerji, functioned
successfully for a year or so to the benefit of both the communities.”[ii]
Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League beside Bengal and
Sind ran coalition government in NWFP also during this period.
HINDUTVA ICON DR SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE DEPUTY CM IN
THE BENGAL MUSLIM LEAGUE MINISTRY TOOK UP THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CRUSHING QIM IN
Following the Hindu Mahasabha directive to co-operate
with the British, the Hindutva icon, Dr. Mookerjee assured the British masters
through a letter dated July 26, 1942. Shockingly, it read:
“Let me now refer to the situation that may be created
in the province as a result of any widespread movement launched by the
Congress. Anybody, who during the war, plans to stir up mass feeling, resulting
internal disturbances or insecurity, must be resisted by any Government that
may function for the time being”[iii]
The second-in-command of the Hindu Mahasabha, Dr Syama
Prasad Mookerjee, also the deputy chief minister in Bengal Muslim league ministry
in a letter to Bengal governor on behalf of Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League
made it clear that both these parties looked at the British rulers as saviours
of Bengal against Quit India Movement launched by Congress. In this letter, he
mentioned item wise the steps to be taken for dealing with the situation. It
“The question is how to combat this movement (Quit
India) in Bengal? The administration of the province should be carried on in
such a manner that in spite of the best efforts of the Congress, this movement
will fail to take root in the province. It should be possible for us,
especially responsible Ministers, to be able to tell the public that the
freedom for which the Congress has started the movement, already belongs to the
representatives of the people. In some spheres it might be limited during the
emergency. Indian have to trust the British, not for the sake for Britain, not
for any advantage that the British might gain, but for the maintenance of the
defence and freedom of the province itself.”[iv]
RSS FOLLOWED SAVARKAR IN OPPOSING QIM
THE other flag-bearer of Hindutva, the RSS, was not
different in its attitude towards the QIM. It openly sided with its mentor
‘Veer’ Savarkar against this great revolt. The RSS’ attitude towards the QIM
becomes clear from the following utterances of its second chief and most
prominent ideologue till date, M.S. Golwalkar. While talking about the outcome
of the Non-Cooperation Movement and QIM he said:
“Definitely there are bound to be bad results of struggle.
The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 movement. It is not an attempt to
throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle.
The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942,
people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law.”[v]
Thus, the prophet of Hindutva, Golwalkar, wanted the
Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British
rulers! He admitted that this kind of negative attitude towards the QIM did not
go well even with the RSS cadres:
“In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the
hearts of many. At that time, too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh
vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the
minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organisation of inactive
persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our
volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.”[vi]
It would be interesting to note what Golwalkar meant
by ‘routine work of Sangh’. It surely meant working overtime to widen the
divide between Hindus and Muslims thus serving the strategic goal of the
British rulers and Muslim League. In fact, the contemporary reports of the
British intelligence agencies on the QIM were straight forward in describing
the fact that RSS kept aloof from the QIM. According to one such report, “the
Sangh has scrupulously kept itself within the law, and in particular, has
refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August 1942”.[vii]
These historical documented facts make it clear that
Hindutva gang led by the RSS not only betrayed QIM but also rendered great
service to the British masters by aligning with the Muslim League when the foreign
rulers were faced with the nation-wide popular revolt by the Indians. They in collusion
mounted one of the fiercest repressions of the freedom fighters. Shockingly,
this gang is ruling India today describing itself as a symbol of Indian
nationalism. We need to convey these facts to the Indians so that these
traitors are exposed and charged for crimes committed against India.
The RSS/BJP rulers know that betrayal
of the QIM by their Hindutva parents cannot be covered up. It is crystal clear
that RSS including its top leaders like Golwalkar (head of the RSS), Deendayal
Upadhyaya, Balraj Madhok, LK Advani and KR Malkani who were RSS whole timers
during QIM did not participate in this Movement. Thus if the betrayal of the
QIM cannot be covered up then rake up polarizing issues with communal motives
so that Indians remain at war with each other.
August 8, 2019
Cited in V.D. Savarkar, Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol.
6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindu Sabha, Poona, 1963, p. 474.
Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya, vol. 6, 479-480.
Mookherjee, Shyama Prasad, Leaves from a Dairy, Oxford University Press.
[Cited in A G. Noorani, The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour. LeftWord
Books, p. 56–57.
M.S. Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan (Collected Works of Golwalkar in
Hindi), vol. IV, Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd, p. 41.
M.S. Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan (Collected Works of Golwalkar in
Hindi), vol. IV, Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd, p. 40.
[vii] Cited in Andersen, Walter K.& Damle, Shridhar D. The Brotherhood in Saffron: the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism, Westview Press, 1987, 44.
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