Savarkar and Hindutva
The Godse Connection
Though delayed, justice has finally been done to the man.
After years of prevarication, the Bharatiya Janata Party has at last publicly and explicitly owned up Vinayak Damodar Savarkar as its cult figure. The BJP seeks to displace Gandhi from his position as the pre-eminent symbol of Indian nationalism and project, in his stead, Savarkar as a national hero. This is an enterprise, however, that is fraught with risk. The risk of the truth coming out in the open.
This book investigates the figure of Savarkar, the author of the term 'Hindutva'. What it finds does not add up to a flattering portrait. Savarkar rejected the inclusive, secular concept of 'territorial nationalism' and advocated the exclusivist, communal concept of 'cultural nationalism'. He repeatedly apologized and gave written undertakings to the government. He was directly connected to more than one murder. And most damagingly, as the book demonstrates in great detail, it was Savarkar who led the conspiracy to assissinate Mahatma Gandhi on that fateful winter evening of 1948.
Inimitably forthright and hard-hitting, A.G. Noorani builds a devastating case against Savarkar. With a wealth of information and historical detail, this book is a must for all those interested in modern Indian politics and the history of communalism in India.
Noorani succeeds in bringing to the fore the tremendous gap between the precepts and practice of the Hindutva icon.
The book is exhaustively researched and vividly brings out both positive and negative sides of Savarkar. To that extent it is an important addition to the growing family of books on Hindu-Muslim relations in this country, which unfortunately threaten to tear apart the moral, social and economic fabric of India.
[This] book displays the many facets of a superbly skilful lawyer. A strong sense of evidence, hard investigative work, isolation and analysis of patterns of behaviour and regularities in the mass of evidence, backed up by a strong argument . . . in which law and morality inform each other.