Legacy of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar: Contested Perspectives


The controversy surrounding the legacy of Hindutva demagogue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar has been reignited in Maharashtra. On March 25th, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sparked the latest round of debate over Savarkar when he said: “My name is not Savarkar. My name is Gandhi. And Gandhis don’t apologise.” Following this statement, the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition launched a five-day ‘Savarkar Gaurav Yatra’ to push the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition. This MVA alliance is between the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.

The Savarkar controversy has brought tension to the relationship between the Uddhav faction of the Shiv Sena and the Congress. Rahul Gandhi has been critical of Savarkar, claiming that he had “apologised” to the British to be released from the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Uddhav Thackeray retaliated against Mr. Gandhi’s remarks, asserting that his party regards Savarkar as “a deity” and will not tolerate any insult towards him. This caused Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to question Uddhav Thackeray’s stance on the Savarkar issue and his party’s commitment to the Hindutva.

The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance took advantage of the issue by launching the ‘Savarkar Gaurav Yatra’. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis criticized the Congress party’s antithesis to Savarkar stating that the Congress, apart from Feroze Gandhi (the grandfather of Rahul Gandhi), had opposed a congratulatory motion for Savarkar after India’s independence.

In a bid to diffuse the tension, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar suggested that the Congress and the Uddhav faction of the Shiv Sena should stay focused on the goal of combating the BJP, rather than continue arguing over the Savarkar issue, as it is a sensitive matter for many people living in Maharashtra.

The controversy surrounding Savarkar’s legacy has drawn in various political parties and factions, intensifying the already divisive nature of Indian politics. It is important that the various parties focus on their common goal of preserving democracy, rather than getting bogged down in controversy.

Pertaining to the companies mentioned in the article, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition was formed in 2014 and is composed of the leading political parties from India and Maharashtra. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition is between the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress. Lastly, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is a right-centrist and nationalist Indian political party, founded in 1999.

The person mentioned in the article is Rahul Gandhi, a politician who served as a member of the Indian Parliament and a leader of the Indian National Congress political party. Since his disqualification as member of the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi has stirred debate regarding the legacy of Hindutva demagogue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Consequently, this has sparked heated debates across Maharashtra and fomented tension between the different political factions.

The fight over Savarkar’s legacy has divided opinion and unsettled the relationship between parties and politicians. Despite this, political parties must remember to remain focused on the ultimate goal of preserving democracy in India. The tension must not be allowed to adhere further as it may severely disrupt the course of democracy.