Category Archives: Debates

Exit Azad! Enter Savarkar!!

Even at the breakneck pace at which its proponents are rewriting history in the Hindutva mould, its real past will habitually catch up with it.


Last year, a statue of freedom fighter and first education minister of independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was destroyed by Hindutva mobs at Kankinara in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. At the time, there were communal flare-ups in many districts of the state in the aftermath of aggressive Ram Navami marches, the first of their kind in the country.

The episode was immediately forgotten. Few would have had the premonition that the incident was was merely a precursor to the larger game-plan of the Hindutva right, to erase not just the legendary freedom fighter’s statute, but his name from history.

Now, for some reason, the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has decided to organise a seminar on ‘Veer Damodar Savarkar: Life and Mission’ on 11 November, the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad, perhaps gives an indication of their intent. This particular date also has no apparent connection with Savarkar, who was born on 28 May 1883 and died on 26 February 1966.

Besides, just over a decade ago, 11 November was declared as National Education Day, to commemorate Azad and recall his contribution to policies and institutions that streamlined the educational needs of newly-independent India. It was a day to reflect on and discuss the country’s education system and its future.

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Politainment : Why Hindutva Brigade Spews Lies

Their fantasy is to control India’s fate by distorting historical events.


History is witness that Buddhism, which originated in the Indian subcontinent, posed a challenge to brahmanical Hinduism. It is also recorded history that Buddhism was completely wiped out of this region centuries later, through means violent and non-violent. But the Hindutva supremacists, compelled by their desire and fantasy to re-shape national identity, want India’s past to match their views on religion. And for them, India is a nation only of and for Hindus.

That is why, through repeated false statements on the subcontinent’s “history”, they are challenging and demolishing India’s past. That is their way of attacking its multicultural present. With the goal to establish Hindu dominance in all fields, they are starting backwards, with untrue claims about “time immemorial”. The recent fabrication of Badris University by a Union minister is a step in that direction.

The Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, has said that the oldest university in the world was in Badrinath, a town in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The university was called “Badris”, the minister claimed in a lecture he delivered in Dehradun, a prominent city of Uttarakhand, last week. No such institution ever existed according to historical record, but Pokhriyal has insisted that will be “restored to its full glory”, presumably from funds taken from his ministry’s grants.

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Goodbye, Tipu Sultan

The Sangh Parivar has supported Tipu when it needed to.

Tipu Sultan

Ghatam Bhindyat, Patam Chhindyat, Kuryat Rasbharohanam

Yenken Prakaren, Prasidho Purusho Bhavet

(Break earthen pots, tear clothes, ride a donkey:

Men try to achieve popularity by any means.)

It was 2006 and DH Shankarmurthy, a nondescript swayamsevak, was handling the higher education ministry in the HD Kumarswamy-led coalition government suddenly hit the national headlines. The trigger was his unusual demand to recast history books in the mould of the Sangh Parivar. Especially his proposal to obliterate the great warrior Tipu Sultan’s name from the annals of Kannada history.

The proposal was based on the completely false pretext that Tipu did not give due importance to the Kannada language and promoted Persian language instead. Never mind that the Mysore state archaeological department holds in its possession more than thirty letters sent from Tipu to the shankaracharya of the Shringeri math, all written in Kannada.

Shankaramurthy wanted Tipu Sultan—who sacrificed his children to end the British rule—obliterated from Karnataka history on the spurious logic that the alleged neglect of Kannada language was reason enough. Even then, the demand had caused a national uproar cutting across party lines. At the time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) were sharing power in the state. As a result, their plans fell flat. Much water has flown down the Kaveri, Godavari and every other Indian river and now a BJP-led government, holding power in the state of Karnataka and the centre has drawn up fresh plans to fulfill a task left unfinished.

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सावरकर को भारत रत्न देना आज़ादी के नायकों का अपमान है

क्या ऐसा शख़्स, जिसने अंग्रेज़ सरकार के पास माफ़ीनामे भेजे, जिन्ना से पहले धर्म के आधार पर राष्ट्र बांटने की बात कही, भारत छोड़ो आंदोलन के समय ब्रिटिश सेना में हिंदू युवाओं की भर्ती का अभियान चलाया, भारतीयों के दमन में अंग्रेज़ों का साथ दिया और देश की आज़ादी के अगुआ महात्मा गांधी की हत्या की साज़िश का सूत्रसंचालन किया, वह किसी भी मायने में भारत रत्न का हक़दार होना चाहिए?

Narendra Modi Savarkar Facebook

वक्त की निहाई अक्सर बड़ी बेरहम मालूम पड़ती है. अपने-अपने वक्त के शहंशाह, अपने-अपने जमाने के महान रणबांकुरे या आलिम सभी को आने वालों की सख्त टीका-टिप्पणियों से रूबरू होना पड़ा है.

बड़ी से बड़ी ऐतिहासिक घटनाएं- भले जिन्होंने समूचे समाज की दिशा बदलने में अहम भूमिका अदा की हो- या बड़ी से बड़ी ऐतिहासिक शख्सियतें- जिन्होंने धारा के विरुद्ध खड़ा होने का साहस कर उसे मोड़ दिया हो – कोई भी कितना भी बड़ा हो उसकी निर्मम आलोचना से बच नहीं पाया है.

यह अकारण ही नहीं कहा जाता कि आने वाली पीढ़ियां पुरानी पीढ़ियों के कंधों पर सवार होती हैं. जाहिर है वे ज्यादा दूर देख सकती हैं, पुरानी पीढ़ियों द्वारा संकलित, संशोधित ज्ञान उनकी अपनी धरोहर होता है, जिसे जज्ब कर वे आगे निकल जा सकती हैं.

समाज की विकास यात्रा को वैज्ञानिक ढंग से देखने वाले शख्स के लिए हो सकता है यह बात भले ही सामान्य मालूम पड़े, लेकिन समाज के व्यापक हिस्से में जिस तरह के अवैज्ञानिक, पश्चगामी चिंतन का बोलबाला रहता है, उसमें ऐसी कोई भी बात उसे आसानी से पच नहीं पाती.

घटनाओं और शख्सियतों का आदर्शीकरण करने की, उन्हें अपने दौर और अपने स्थान से काटकर सार्वभौमिक मानने की जो प्रवृत्ति समाज में विद्यमान रहती है, उसके चलते समाज का बड़ा हिस्सा ऐसी आलोचनाओं को बर्दाश्त नहीं कर पाता.

वैसे बात-बात पर आस्था पर हमला होने का बहाना बनाकर सड़कों पर उतरने वाली हुड़दंगी बजरंगी मानसिकता भले ही ऐसी प्रकट समीक्षा को रोकने की कोशिश करे, लेकिन इतिहास इस बात का साक्षी है कि कहीं प्रकट- तो कहीं प्रच्छन्न रूप से यह आलोचना निरंतर चलती ही रहती है और उन्हीं में नये विचारों के वाहक अंकुरित होते रहते हैं, जो फिर समाज को नये पथ पर ले जाते हैं.

फिलवक्त विनायक दामोदर सावरकर- जिन्हें उनके अनुयायी ‘स्वातंत्रयवीर’ नाम से पुकारते हैं, जो युवावस्था में ही ब्रिटिश विरोधी आंदोलन की तरफ आकर्षित हुए थे, जो बाद में कानून की पढ़ाई करने के लिए लंदन चले गए, जहां वह और रैडिकल राजनीतिक गतिविधियों में जुड़ते गए थे- इसी किस्म की पड़ताल के केंद्र में है.

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Savarkar, India’s ’Ratna’ of a Different Kind!

BJP’s poll promise of Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, who inspired a wide spectrum of fanatic individuals and violent organisations, shows the moral vacuousness of the Hindutva project


“The curious fact is that as we move into the 21st century, historians have become central to politics. We historians are the monopoly suppliers of the past. The only way to modify the past that does not sooner or later go through historians is by destroying the past….Mythology is taking over from knowledge”.

It was in the wee hours of dawn of the 21st century that renowned scholar and historian, Eric Hobsbawm, had talked about the process of  “destroying the past” to “modify” it or how “mythology is replacing knowledge” in his speech at Columbia University in New York City.

Much water has flown down the Ganges, the Rheins, the Yangtzes of the world and as we stand at the cusp of the third decade of the 21st century, one realises that how this process — both literally and metaphorically — has advanced to different corners of the globe.

With the ascent of Hindutva supremacist forces in polity and society in this part of the world, perhaps this process has reached its extreme, so much so that every other saffronite seems to have gathered enough confidence to claim legitimacy to any weird thing. The news that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its election manifesto (for the Maharashtra Assembly) has promised that it would confer Bharat Ratna, the country’ topmost honour, on VD Savarkar if voted to power, should be seen in this light.

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Will Lynching in Bharat Be Called Vaddh?

The Sangh’s obsession with vocabulary is not innocent.

Will Lynching in Bharat

The speech by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat on its foundation day (Dusshera) has now become an event, watched with interest. The speech itself has a long tradition within the organisation, which all its affiliated (anushangik) bodies look upon as a guiding light.

This year was no different. Donning the Sangh’s uniform, the top echelons of its organisations attended the event. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attended too, and wore the black cap and Sangh “uniform”.

Yet, the speech by Bhagwat itself had nothing seemingly strategic. Some analysts even felt that he could not show any new direction to the RSS and its affiliates; that it seemed to have made a weak defence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government that is ruling at the Centre and several states. “Have the tables turned on the Sangh Parivar?,’ The Wire asked, in its analysis of Bhagwat’s speech.

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India’s Answer to Brazil’s Ustra

The Hindu Right is analogous to Right-wing regimes elsewhere.


As Brazil’s Far Right rises, army man Ustra (who died in 2015), who tortured hundreds, is becoming a cult figure of a kind. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

The popularity of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which present female role models before young readers, has proved rather phenomenal. Within a span of three years, it has been published in 47 languages around the world and has sold more than a million copies.

The plan to render a Turkish version has met with a big roadblock. A board for the protection of minors from obscene publications of the Turkish government has found them offensive. It recently ruled that these books should be partially banned and treated like pornography.

The reason—they could have a ‘detrimental influence’ on young minds.

It is beyond comprehension what “negative impact” a book that promotes equality can have on impressionable minds, other than the fact that they take the idea seriously and extend it to other arenas of life. Erdogan’s Turkey is no different from Right-wing regimes elsewhere that are very particular about what children should read or not.

Jair Bolsonaro, the controversial Far Right President of Brazil, who is also known as the Trump of the Tropics, was recently in the news for similar reasons.

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