(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s attempt to create the bogey of Hindu terrorism and dragging Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh into it is nothing new. In his classic book, The Men Who Killed Gandhi, celebrated writer Manohar Malgonkar, mentions how Veer Savarkar—who in the author’s words was to Hindu Mahasabha what Gandhi was to Congress—was wrongly implicated in the Gandhi murder trial in 1948-49. Malgonkar dropped more than a hint that it was the work of government of the day, or in other words Congress.
(Below are excerpts from the book. The texts in italics are my own; the one in bold letters are the exact page numbers and quotes in the book:)
From page 281-285:
Why were the police so anxious to implicate Savarkar?
Was it merely that, having failed in their proper function to arrest Nathuram before he killed Gandhi, they were making a bid to save face by raising the bogey of some sensational plot which involved a big leader who, providentially happened to be in bad odour with the government of the day?
Or was the government itself, or some powerful group in it, using the police agency to destroy a rival political organization or at least to destroy a fiercely uncompromising opposition stalwart?
Whatever it was, Savarkar himself was so conscious of these currents, so convinced that the authorities were determined to take him to court as an accomplice of Nathuram, that when five days after Gandhi’s murder, a police party entered his house he went forward to meet it and asked: “So you’ve come to arrest me for Gandhi’s murder?”
Savarkar being made an accused in the Gandhi murder trial may well have been an act of political vendetta. Of course Badge (Digambar Badge, a weapon supplier and conspirator who turned into a police approver)…was most insistent to me (the author) that he had been forced to tell lies, and that his pardon and future stipend by the police department in Bombay depended upon his backing the official version of the case and in particular that, he never saw Savarkar talking to (Narayan) Apte, and never heard him telling them: “Yeshaswai houn ya (Earn glory).”
Many years later on 16 June, 1983, the Poona newspaper Kal edited by S.R. Date, published a report on the subject, which was later reprinted in a volume published by the Savarkar Memorial Committee on February 16, 1989. I quote excerpts from it. It purports to repeat something that Savarkar’s counsel at the trial, L.B (Annasahen) Bhopatkar, a Poona lawyer, had revealed to his friends after he returned to Poona from Delhi in January 1949, after the Red Fort trial was over, and Savarkar found `not guilty.’
While in the Delhi for the trial, Bhopatkar had been put up in the Hindu Mahasabha office, Bhopatkar had found it a little puzzling that while specific charges had been made against all the other accused, there was no specific charges against the client. He was pondering about his defence strategy when one morning he was told that he was wanted on the telephone, so he went up to the room in which the telephone was kept, picked up the receiver and identified himself. His caller was Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who merely said: `Please meet me this evening at the sixth milestone on the Mathura road.’ But before Bhopatkar could say anything more, put down the receiver.
That evening, when Bhopatkar had himself driven to the place indicated, he found Ambedkar already waiting. He motioned to Bhopatkar to get into his car which he, Ambedkar himself, was driving. A few minutes later he stopped the car and told Bhopatkar: There is no real charge against your client, quite worthless evidence has been concocted. Several members of the cabinet were strongly against it (against implicating Savarkar), but to no avail. Sardar Patel could not go against these orders. But, take it from me, there just is no case. `You will win.’ Who…Jawaharlal Nehru?…But why?
They had arrested Savarkar even though they did not possess sufficient evident to do so. To be sure, the mass of papers seized from his house had yielded scores of letters from Nathuram and half a dozen from Apte, but these were disappointingly innocuous. All that they did was to establish the fact that Nathuram and Apte knew Savarkar and held him in great esteem. But this in itself was not enough to satisfy a magistrate that a prima facie case existed so that he could issue a warrant.
This, however, was no more than a technicality (sic), and they got overe it by arresting him under the Prevention Detention Act—one of the most malignant practice of legislation with which the British had armed themselves while they ruled India. Even though Indian politicians of all shades of opinion had persistently condemned the British for this Act, the Congress had been in no hurry to repeal it after the British had gone.
Under its provision, Savarkar was initially held as a `detenu.’ After that they proceeded to build up evidence against him that would enable them to change his detention into arrest, with what could be called `retrospective effect.’
Savarkar was 64 years old, and had been ailing for a year or more. He was detained on 5 February 1948, and remained in prison for the whole of the year which the investigations and the trial took. He was adjudged `not guilty’ on 10 February 1949. The man who had undergone 26 years of imprisonment and detention under the British for his part in India’s struggle for freedom was thus slung back into the jail for another year the moment that freedom came.
The strain of the trial, and the year spent in prison while it lasted, wrecked Savarkar’s health and finished him as a force in India’s politics. (Page 46).
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru (the title of Pandit is a little incongruous for a sworn secularist) passed away on this day (May 27), 54 years ago in 1964. His larger than life image though has only lately begun to be put in perspective. A lot of it has to do with social media for it loosened the grip of mainstream media and academics in controlling the narrative, hiding the ugly and sprucing up the good.
This revisit on Nehru’s early years, his rise in Congress echelon, manipulation at the time of independence to PM’s seat, his shaping of Hindu Civil Code etc are now being fiercely ripped out in open. I would presently concentrate on two of his actions which have put India’s eastern and western borders in permanent strife. I am of course referring to Pt. Nehru’s conduct during the incursion of Pakistani raiders in Kashmir in 1947; and the disastrous China War of 1962.
Pak Raiders in Kashmir in 1947
Within a month of India’s independence, Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir offered his state’s accession to India in September 1947. Nehru refused for his “blood brother” Sheikh Abdullah was in jail. It was thus a deadlock. By next month, Pakistan’s raiders from North West Frontier Province had penetrated up till the outskirts of Srinagar, looting, pillaging, killing and raping along the way. On October 26, Hari Singh had agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession to Indian Union.
On the same day, Lord Mountbatten, the governor general, called an urgent meeting in Delhi. Nehru was his typical ambivalent self. Sardar Patel, the home minister, lost his cool. Sam Manekshaw, then an army colonel, was to later recall: “As usual Nehru talked about the United Nations, Russia, Africa, God Almighty, everybody, until Sardar Patel lost his temper. He said `Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir or do you want to give it away?’.” Nehru was thus pinned into taking an action and thanks to Sardar Patel, troops were flown to Srinagar and the airport, the only link with New Delhi, was saved.
In just a few weeks, in December 1947, Nehru had committed his grave blunder for which successive generations of India are still paying the price. He referred the matter to United Nations—there was no need for Kashmir was literally India’s “internal matter” since Maharaja Hari Singh had already acceded the state to Indian Union.
Why did Nehru go to United Nations? There are two explanations forwarded: one, he wanted Sardar Patel out of Kashmir for the latter fed up by Nehru’s antics had offered to resign just a few days before in December 1947; two, Nehru walked into a trap laid by Mountbatten who wanted UN to mediate.
(The truth is, India didn’t need Mountbatten as its Governor General. Pakistan never considered a similar option for itself. Mountbatten then maneuvered himself as head of India’s defence council).
Nehru then approached United Nations for arbitration. In the first few months of 1948, the folly had begun to hit Nehru in the face. The British stance in front of UN was completely opposite to what Mountbatten had led Nehru to believe. The Indian complaint was ignored; instead UN Security Council began adopting anti-India resolutions.
The cat was out of the bag. Despite India’s protestations, Pakistan was firmly in control of “Azad Kashmir.” India had to lose Gilgit-Baltistan region. UN and its plans for a plebiscite went kaput. India’s next generations had been condemned with the festering wound of Kashmir. Terrorism and internal security, if not secession, are everyday issues emanating from the Valley.
India’s China War of 1962
This refers to India’s political and military humiliation at the hands of China during the 1962 War. The impression successfully perpetuated all these years is that it was all China’s aggression which didn’t respond to Nehru’s brotherly overtures. The truth is more nuanced.
Britain didn’t leave India with any boundaries. India were left to settle matters with Pakistan, Nepal and China. While the first two nations didn’t cause any problem, China was a different matter altogether. They were not prepared to let Nehru get away with his “forward policy” of aggression.
India inherited the McMahon line on its eastern border with China which British had created in mid-1930s by seizing the Tibetan territory, renaming it NEFA. The Chinese government’s plea for renegotiation was turned down by Nehru who latched on to London’s fake claim of Simla Conference (1945), legitimatizing the McMahon Line. Nehru topped it with his fake claim on Aksai Chin—a claim which even the British hadn’t made on a territory China had termed its own for over a hundred years.
Then on its Western (Ladakh) border, Nehru’s “forward policy” in September 1962 tried to force the Chinese out of territory it claimed as its own. Nehru announced on October 11 that the army had been ordered to “free our territory.” That’s how the war began with China reacting to the situation.
China fought the 1962 war while in the throes of economic hardship. It’s forces were hardly elite, mostly comprising regiments of local military. Their equipment and logistics were poor. Yet they overpowered the Indians. In that short war of two weeks—China called for a unilateral ceasefire as quickly as it had gained ground—India lost 1383 of its soldiers; 1047 were wounded, 1696 were missing.
Our only clue to 1962 China War is a book by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell: India’s China War. He could pen it down by accessing the Henderson (Brooks)—(Premindra Singh) Bhagat report which had been commissioned in the wake of 1962 War disaster. Even Maxwell could copy only a part of the report which the Indian government had classified as “top secret.”
It’s been over a half century yet the Henderson-Bhagat report as well as various correspondences of Nehru are out of reach—being treated as “private property’ of Nehru Library, a private trust. The papers of India’s first prime minister belongs to his family and not to the state!!! The classified secret clause of “30 years” is long over yet the report isn’t being made public.
That’s how truth in this country is treated. Everyone tries to muzzle changes in school text books and academia in light of new findings so that their narrative remains perpetuated. Doesn’t the history of this country deserve a revision when important annals of this country are being kept locked in the form of documents inside safety vaults?