The Strange Irony of Roping in Mahatma Gandhi To Establish Savarkar’s Nationalist Credentials – By Mridula Mukherjee & Others
On October 13, 2021, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh claimed, “A lot of falsehood was spread against Savarkar…. Rajnath Singh’s statement is presumably based on certain documents from the year 1920: a letter from N.D. Savarkar, brother of V.D. and Ganesh Savarkar, to Gandhi; Gandhi’s reply and an article Gandhi wrote in Young India.
The facts are somewhat at variance with Singh’s claims. The first mercy petition was filed by Savarkar nine years prior, in 1911 itself, within six months of his conviction. Numerous other petitions followed in subsequent years, without any evidence or claim of it being at Gandhi’s suggestion.
To quote from one such petition for his release, submitted personally to the British official Reginald Craddock when he visited the Andamans jail in 1913, offering loyalty to the British government: “If the Government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the strongest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress. I am ready to serve the Government in any capacity they like….