Once a prime national centre of historical research, ICHR has been totally handed over to the RSS pracharaks. It is nobody’s argument that RSS cadres have no right to influence research in Indian history. But as George Orwell in his masterpiece ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949) wrote, it should not be left to the whims of a section of the sectarian ruling elite which specializes in daily changing historic records to fit its polarising propaganda goals of the day. The deliberations at recently concluded three-day (February 8-10, 2017) national seminar on Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian National Army organized by ICHR show that even George Orwell and practitioners of post-truth dictum would be embarrassed by reliance on sheer false-hood by the RSS historians and leaders invited for the seminar.
The guest of honour, organising secretary of RSS sponsored Akhila Bharathiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana (ABISY), Balmukund Pandey and a senior RSS cadre went on to declare: “There has been an attempt to demonise our country’s icons and heroes and Subhas Chandra Bose was the biggest victim of this effort. If there is one person who represents the country’s freedom struggle, it is Subhas Chandra Bose”.
Pandey, while congratulating ICHR for organising a seminar for Subhas, called upon to carry stories of Subhash to every Indian household. YS Rao, chairman of ICHR and a senior RSS cadre, agreeing with Pandey promised that ICHR in collaboration with ABISY would organize a national seminar on Vivekanand and Bose as both “had imbibed the spirit of Goddess Kali.”
The fact is that if people of India come to know about the treacherous role Hindutva organizations like Hindu Mahasabha (HM) led by VD Savarkar and RSS led by MS Golwalkar played against Netaji’s plan of liberating India militarily, it is going to be highly embarrassing and damaging for the Hindutva camp including ICHR. These terrible facts are available, nowhere else but in the pre-Partition archives of both the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS.
Netaji escaped from India in 1940 in order to organize a liberation army (INA) outside the country. He and his comrades wanted to use it as a force to liberate India militarily when England, the colonial master was trapped in the World War II. Congress led by Gandhi refused to back the British rulers in this War, declaring it as an imperialist war. But it was Savarkar, an icon of Hindutva politics and RSS who decided to back the British war efforts. To what extent Savarkar helped the British would be clear by the following words of his at Bhagalpur (1941): “So far as India’s defence is concerned, Hindudom must ally unhesitatingly, in a spirit of responsive co-operation with the war effort of the Indian government in so far as it is consistent with the Hindu interests, by joining the Army, Navy and the Aerial forces in as large a number as possible…Again it must be noted that Japan’s entry into the war has exposed us directly and immediately to the attack by Britain’s enemies…Hindu Mahasabhaits must, therefore, rouse Hindus especially in the provinces of Bengal and Assam as effectively as possible to enter the military forces of all arms without losing a single minute.”
HM under Savarkar organized recruitment camps (known as Hindu Militarization Boards) throughout the country for the British army. The British Government was in regular touch with Savarkar so far as the organisation of its highest war bodies was concerned. It included individuals whose names were proposed by Savarkar. This is made clear from the following thanksgiving telegram Savarkar sent to General Wavell, the Commander in-Chief and the Viceroy of India on July 18, 1941. “YOUR EXCELLENCY’S ANNOUNCEMENT DEFENCE COMMITTEE WITH ITS PERSONNEL IS WELCOME. HINDUMAHASABHA VIEWS WITH SPECIAL SATISFACTION APPOINTMENT OF MESSERS KALIKAR AND JAMNADAS MEHTA.” [as in the original] Kalikar and Mehta were two senior leaders of HM.
It is important to note here that even Muslim League, sub-serving the colonial masters refused to align in these war efforts or join Defence Committees established by the government.
In his address at Madura (1940) Savarkar unequivocally rejected any idea of liberating India. He declared: “Not only on moral grounds but on the grounds of practical politics we are compelled not to concern ourselves…with any programme involving any armed resistance” He declared that it would be a “political folly” to think that “Indian interests are opposed to the British interests in general.”
He demanded complete loyalty from the Hindu recruits who “should be perfectly amenable and obedient to the military discipline and order which may prevail there provided always that the latter do not deliberately aim to humiliate Hindu Honour.” Astonishingly, Savarkar never felt that joining the armed forces of the colonial masters was in itself a great humiliation for any self-respecting Indian. The HM archives are full of records of meetings between ‘His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief & Shri Jwala Prasad’ second in command of HM in which British Commander-in-Chief “expressed his grateful appreciation of the lead given by Barrister Savarkar in exhorting the Hindus to join the forces of the land with a view to defend India from enemy attacks.”
It is to be noted that pre-Partition RSS literature did not have a single reference to the liberation struggle of Netaji, on the contrary, has records of Savarkar regularly addressing RSS meetings regarding recruitment in the British armed forces.