Collaborator Savarkar versus Freedom Fighter Bose

Written by Shamsul Islam | Published on: January 26, 2016
of India to join war efforts of the British government. He categorically stated:
“Whatever, again, be the position and the fate of nations after the war, today under the present circumstances taking all things together, the only feasible and relatively beneficial attitude which the Hindu Sanghatanists can take up is doubtless to ally ourselves actively with the British government on the point of Indian Defence, provided always that we can do so without being compelled to betray the Hindu cause.”4
The following concluding words of his Bhagalpur address made it clear that, in Savarkar’s view, sub-serving the British war efforts would herald a great future for the country:
“If ever the saying was true that the darkest hour of the night is nearer the golden rise of the morn, it holds good today. The war that has approached our shores from the East and may threaten us in due course even from the West is a danger which may prove unparalleled in its magnitude, ravages and results. But it is also bound to break into a new day for the world and there are no signs wanting to show us that not only a newer but a better Order [sic] may ensure out of this world chaos. Those who have lost all may gain much in the end. Let us also bide our time and pray and act for the best.”5

Savarkar’s total support to the British war efforts when leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose were trying to chalk out a strategy to throw out the British rule from India through armed struggle was the result of a well-thought-out Hindutva design. It was in Madura (22nd session of the Hindu Mahasabha, 1940) that he made his choice clear. His support to the British rested on the logic that “it is altogether improbable that England will be defeated in this war, so disastrously as to get compelled to hand over her Indian Empire, lock, stock and barrel into German hands”6 thus believing in the invincibility of the British Empire.
His presidential address at Madura is a living testimony to his unabashed support to British imperialistic designs. He out-rightly rejected Netaji’s plan to liberate India. He declared:
“Not only on moral grounds but on the grounds of practical politics we are compelled not to concern ourselves on behalf of the Hindu Mahasabha organisation with any programme involving any armed resistance, under the present circumstances.”7
There was absolutely no ambiguity in his support to British military designs. He presented a strange alibi in order to justify the unashamed support to the colonial masters. According to his logic,
“Thus after taking stock of all other courses and factors for and against us, I feel no hesitation in proposing that the best way of utilising the opportunities which the war has afforded to us cannot be any other than to participate in all war efforts which the [British] government are compelled by circumstances to put forth in so far as they help in bringing about the militarization and industrialization of our people.”8
When the British government in the wake of the World War II decided to raise new battalions of its armed forces, it was the Hindu Mahasabha under direct command of Savarkar which decided to enroll Hindus in a big way in this venture. This is what Savarkar reported to the delegates at the Hindu Mahasabha session at Madura:
“Naturally, the Hindu Mahasabha with a true insight into a practical politics decided to participate in all war efforts of the British government in so far as they concerned directly with the question of the Indian defence and raising new military forces in India.”9
It was not as if Savarkar was unaware of the strong resentment which was brewing in the ranks of common Indians against such an approach. He brushed aside any criticism of the Hindu Mahasabha’s decision of co-operating with the British in war efforts as,
“political folly into which the Indian public is accustomed to indulge in thinking that because Indian interests are opposed to the British interests in general, any step in which we join hands with the British