Distorted history… whoever wrote this speech for you should be fired, Defence Minister told
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – The statement of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that it was Mahatma Gandhi who asked Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarakar to write a mercy petition with the British government during his incarceration has drawn flak from the opposition leaders.
The claims made by Singh on Tuesday during the release of a book, “Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition”, are being termed as “re-writing history”.
Singh said: “A lot of falsehood was spread against Savarkar. It was repeatedly said that he filed multiple mercy petitions before the British government. The truth is he did not file these petitions for his release. Generally, a prisoner has the right to file a mercy petition. Mahatma Gandhi had asked that you file a mercy petition. It was on Gandhi’s suggestion that he filed a mercy petition. And Mahatma Gandhi had appealed that Savarkar ji should be released. He had said the way we are running the movement for freedom peacefully, so would Savarkar”.
The statement has drawn a lot of criticism from various corners including political leaders and historians.
Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh put out the letter written by Gandhi to Savarkar’s brother in 1920 and termed Singh’s claims as “RSS habit of re-writing history”.
“Rajnath Singh-ji is amongst the few sober & dignified voices in Modi Sarkar. But he doesn’t seem to be free of RSS habit of rewriting history. He has given a twist to what Gandhi actually wrote on Jan 25, 1920. Here is that letter to Savarkar’s brother,” Ramesh wrote in the tweet.
Rajnath Singh-ji is amongst the few sober & dignified voices in Modi Sarkar. But he doesnt seem to be free of RSS habit of rewriting history. He has given a twist to what Gandhi actually wrote on Jan 25 1920. Here is that letter to Savarkar’s brother. pic.twitter.com/E8Gxq59TxZ
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) October 13, 2021
Another Senior Congress leader Shashi Throor pointed out that Savarkar wrote a mercy petition within six months after he was lodged in jail on July 4, 1911 while Gandhi returned to Indian in 1915. The letter written by Gandhi to Savarkar was in 1920, he said.
As @joydeepghosh points out: #Savarkar was lodged in the #CellularJail on July 4, 1911. Within six months, he submitted a petition for mercy. His second #mercy petition was submitted on November 14, 1913. #Gandhi Ji returned to India from #SouthAfrica on Jan 9, 1915. This is 1920 https://t.co/2xB3RhHtgk
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 13, 2021
CMP leader Sitaram Yechuri described the statement of Singh as “Preposterous re-writing of history” and “distortion”. “Savarkar’s mercy petitions are in 1911 & 1913. Gandhiji enters Indian freedom struggle in 1915. Such distortions cannot mislead. The fact is RSS was never part of the freedom struggle. Often collaborated with British.,” said Yechuri.
In another tweet, he also put out Savarkar’s mercy petition.
Preposterous rewriting of history.
Savarkar's mercy petitions are in 1911 & 1913.
Gandhiji enters Indian freedom struggle in 1915.
Such distortions cannot mislead.
The fact is RSS was never part of the freedom struggle.
Often collaborated with British. https://t.co/Y7gQRCezmO
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 13, 2021
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also criticized Singh’s statement by putting out Gandhi’s letter pointing out that Gandhi did not ask Savarkar to write mercy petition. “Whoever wrote this speech for you should be fired. It’s not good to have advisers who have a Savarkarite relationship to truth,” said Owaisi.
Sir @rajnathsingh you said that Savarkar’s grovelling mercy petitions were on Gandhi’s advise.
1. Here’s the letter to Savarkar from Gandhi. No mention of petition to British begging for leniency, mercy & promising to be a faithful servant of the crown. 1/n pic.twitter.com/5asdmBVqss
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) October 13, 2021
Talking to media persons, the Hyderabad MP also expressed his fear that the BJP may declare Savarakar as father of the nation.
“They (BJP) are presenting distorted history. If this continues, they will remove Mahatma Gandhi and make Savarkar, who was accused of the murder of Mahatma Gandhi and was pronounced complicit in the inquiry of Justice Jeevan Lal Kapur, as the father of the nation,” Owaisi said.
Author and historian S Irfan Habib took a dig at Singh’s statement saying “No documentary evidence is needed when a minister makes a claim”. He described it as “new history for new India”.
Yes, monochromatic history writing is really changing, led by the minister who claims Gandhi asked Savarkar to write mercy petitions. At least it is accepted now that he did write. No documentary evidence needed when minister makes a claim. New history for New India.
— S lrfan Habib (@irfhabib) October 13, 2021
Prominent journalist Rajdeep Sardesai also fact-checked Singh’s statement.
Fact check: In 1911, Savarkar files his 1st mercy petition, Gandhi is in S Africa. NO ‘advise’ given by MKG to Savarkar at the time. In 1920, Gandhi writes to Savarkar and then in Young India,makes case for Savarkar to be released. Forget left or right: stick to facts!#Savarkar
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) October 13, 2021
Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi has also hit out at Singh.
Taking to Twitter, Tushar Gandhi wrote, “The Union Cabinet should be called Meddling in Colleague’s Cabinet. They all perform other minister’s job. Minister of Defence is doing job of Minister of Disinformation and Propaganda.”
The Union Cabinet should be called Meddling in Colleague’s Cabinet. They all perform other minister’s job. Minister of Defence is doing job of Minister of Disinformation and Propaganda.
— Tushar (@TusharG) October 13, 2021