The Savarkar controversy

Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.

‘Veer’ Savarkar ( 1883-1966 ) was an Indian political activist and writer.

A controversy has arisen in India over Rahul Gandhi’s recent remarks calling Savarkar a British agent


Savarkar’s grandson has filed a police complaint against Rahul Gandhi.

But Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson has supported Rahul.

My own view is on my blog below

As I have mentioned in my blog, a typical technique used by our British rulers was that when they noticed some Indian patriotic youth to have become very active against the British, they would arrest him on trumped-up charges, and on the basis of false evidence, would get him sentenced by the court to long sentences in jail. There the youth was often tortured and maltreated in many ways, and this would usually break his spirit in a few years. Then the British authorities would offer him a deal : we can set you free if you agree to become our agent, or you can rot in jail forever.

This would invariably do the trick. The young man, to get out of the hell he was in, would agree to any deal.

The same happened to Savarkar, as I have explained in my blog. He was a patriot in his youth, but then he was arrested in 1910, and given two life sentences and sent to the penal colony of Andaman Islands, where he remained for 10 years in terrible conditions, and was then shifted to Ratnagiri, where he developed the ideology of ‘Hindutva’. While in jail he wrote many petitions to the British authorities praying for clemency. Probably he was offered a deal, and on agreeing to become a British agent, he was set free in 1924. Thereafter, as explained in my blog, he consistently furthered the British policy of divide and rule, by propagating Hindu militancy.

But Savarkar was not the sole example of this technique

Similar modus operandi was used by the British authorities in respect of several persons.

Take for instance Aurobindo ( 1872-1950 )

He was earlier a revolutionary but was arrested and charged for a bombing in the Aligarh conspiracy case in 1908.

He spent some time in jail, but by the time he came out all his revolutionary zeal had gone, and he had became a ‘spiritual’ person, and shifted to Pondicherry where he built his ashram.

My guess is that probably while in jail he was offered some deal by the British authorities, which he accepted, for fear of the terrible consequences if he refused.

We may also consider the poet Iqbal ( 1877-1938 )

Iqbal was a good Urdu poet, and was a nationalist and patriot in his younger days. In 1904 he wrote ‘Saare jahaan se achcha Hindustan hamaara’, which was a patriotic song.

But then in 1905 he went to England, where he remained for 3 years, and probably during this period was offered a deal by the Britishers, which he accepted. The proof of this is that by the time he returned to India all his patriotism and nationalism was gone, and he had been transformed into a highly communal person preaching pan-Islamic nonsense, as in his poems ‘taraana-e-milli’ and ‘shikwa’

In his Presidential address in 1930 in the Allahabad session of the Muslim League he strongly proposed partitioning India and creating a separate state for Muslims

This shows that Iqbal had become a British agent, promoting the bogus 2 nation theory, which led to the historical British swindle called Partition of 1947, which caused terrible suffering to millions.

Many more such examples can be given.


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