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Thackeray claims no Pakistan if Savarakar was PM; Twitterati find it hard to digest

Twitter users point out that in fact Savarakar was in support of two-nation theory

By The Telegraph in Mumbai
  • Published 18.09.19, 5:55 PM
  • Updated 18.09.19, 5:57 PM
  • 2 mins read
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Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has also demanded that a Bharat Ratna be awarded to Veer Savarakar Shutterstock

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said Pakistan would not have come into existence had Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar been the country's Prime Minister at the time, and also demanded that he be awarded the Bharat Ratna.

"Savarkar must be awarded the Bharat Ratna. We don't deny the work done by (Mahatma) Gandhi and (first PM Jawaharlal) Nehru, but the country saw more than two families being born on the political scene," Thackeray said. He was speaking at the launch of a biography titled Savarkar: Echoes From A Forgotten Past.

"I’d have called Nehru as Veer (brave) if he had survived jail for 14 minutes against Savarkar who stayed in prison for 14 long years," Thackeray added.

The comments did not go down well with a section on Twitter, who pointed out that Savarakar supported the two-nation theory, which was adopted by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, leading to the creation of Pakistan.

The Twitter handle of the Indian National Congress posted a photo of a document, claiming that Savarakar had on record said that he had no quarrel with “Mr. Jinnah’s two-nation theory.”

Md Salim, Politburo member of the CPI(M), too trained his guns at Savarkar and Thackeray’s remarks, saying that one the contrary Jinnah would have never encountered the two-nation theory had Savarakar not been born.

Another user, Gaurav Pandhi, a political analyst, echoed Md. Salim’s views that Pakistan exists because Savarkar was around.

Twitter users also dragged in Thackeray’s remarks about Bharat Ratna and Savarkar spending time lodged in jail, mocking the Hindutva ideologue for "writing mercy petitions." 

At the event, Thackeray told the author of the book, Vikram Sampath, that he would buy copies and ensure that every school and college in the state stocks it in libraries, adding it should be compulsory reading for MPs and MLAs too.

Sampath said Savarkar's story deserves to be "written, heard and read", claiming the latter's life was an "addiction" for him ever since a controversy erupted in 2003-04 over the removal of a plaque at Andaman's Cellular Jail.

He said Savarkar's name gets dragged into heated political debates often, from Rahul Gandhi's "defamatory" remarks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to the freedom fighter at Cellular Jail.

Incidents like dropping of the honorific prefix "Veer" from his name, as was done in textbooks in Rajasthan, to opinions on his mercy petitions to the British, all show great interest in the man, Sampath said.

Speaking on his book, Sampath said it is the first of two volumes and covers the period between 1883 to 1924, from Savarkar's birth at Bhagur in Nashik district to his days as a firebrand student leader in Pune's Fergusson College, as well as his fight for freedom that ended in a life sentence in the infamous Cellular Jail.

Savarkar was conditionally released from jail in 1924.