Updated: October 16, 2021 2:56:18 am
Days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the demonization of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar would not be tolerated any more, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said it was distressing to see people questioning the patriotism of the Hindutva icon. He said the title of Veer was bestowed upon Savarkar by 130 crore Indians to acknowledge his courage and patriotism.
“Veer Savarkar was not given the title of Veer by any government but by the 130 crore Indians to acknowledge his courage and patriotism. Some people are raising questions on his life today. It is very distressing,” Shah said in his address to a gathering at Port Blair cellular jail in Andaman and Nicobar.
“You are questioning the patriotism of the person who was sentenced to two life imprisonments. You are questioning the courage of the man who jumped from a steamer and decided to fight for India’s freedom and go to France… the man who endured the tyranny of manually pressing out 30 pounds of oil [a day]. Have some shame. Come here and you will not ask these questions any more,” Shah said.
According to Shah, when he visited the jail last time there was an Amar Jyoti (a continuously burning lamp) from where Savarkar’s name had been removed. He said he got it placed there again.
“How can we go without remembering Veer Savarkar today. Savarkar made this jail a pilgrimage. He gave message to the whole of India that no matter how much tyranny you unleash, you cannot deprive me of my rights and my country the freedom,” he said.
“I visited his cell. Right in front is the hanging house, the oil mill and the whipping site. No one knows, in 10 years, how much tyranny Savarkarji must have endured here. In those 10 years, he must have also heard the inner cries of the freedom fighters hanged. Yet, with determination he remained associated with the freedom struggle.”
The Home Minister said Savarkar had all facilities to lead a good life but dedicated his life to the nation.
“He was an intelligent man, well read and knew several languages. We just heard his poetry in Urdu. He was a great linguist, a great social reformer, a great freedom fighter, a great orator and a great writer. He wrote a book on 1857 and perhaps it is the only book that was banned before it could be published,” Shah said. “Such a thinker, littérateur, a man of such courage is being subjected to controversies.”
The Home Minister said he got a new energy whenever he visited the cellular jail as despite suffering unspeakable tyrannies, the 1,000 freedom fighters lodged in the jail did not bow to the British and eventually went back home chanting Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki Jai.
“Wherever these martyrs are, they must be really satisfied. Now the road that the nation has chosen and has been walking on for the past seven years is the road that freedom fighters such as Savarkar and [Sachindra Nath] Sanyal imagined for the country,” Shah said.
He said he became emotional when he went to the cell of freedom fighter Sanyal. “Sachin Sanyal was the only freedom fighter who was brought to the cellular jail twice. West Bengal has had a special contribution in India’s freedom struggle. Only Bengal and Punjab have sent the maximum number of freedom fighters here. When Sanyal went back he kept struggling against the British and he was brought here again. I salute these freedom fighters,” Shah said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav so that the youth come to know about the contribution of the many unknown freedom fighters and to rekindle the feelings of patriotism.
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