Of Savarkar and the Sena
To set the record straight, Savarkar got out of the Andamans by writing mercy petitions to the British, assuring them of political support.
Shiv Sena spokesman and senior Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut played a useful role in bringing about a conducive atmosphere enabling his party to form an alliance government with the NCP and the Congress, with Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister. But in recent weeks a series of his ill-judged remarks, supposedly in defence of the Sena’s ideological stance, appear to damage the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government’s prospects.
Once Mr Thackeray recently declared on the Assembly floor that while religion and politics were important, the tendency to mix the two was a mistake, it was expected Mr Raut would take the cue. His refusal to do so, and repeated invocation of Veer Savarkar, the progenitor of Hindutva — or political Hinduism — with whose thought the Congress is at odds, can be read to mean Mr Raut doesn’t see the importance of placing the MVA government on a firm footing.
His latest observation that those opposed to the idea of the Bharat Ratna being conferred on Savarkar should be sent to the Andamans’ Cellular Jail for two days appeared as a fresh jibe at the Congress.
Interestingly, the riposte came from Aditya Thackeray, the CM’s young son and a Cabinet minister, who said Mr Raut’s remark was not the party’s line but his personal view. If the spokesman ignores this signal, he may give the impression of disturbing inner-party equanimity as someone close to him was not made a minister.
To set the record straight, Savarkar got out of the Andamans by writing mercy petitions to the British, assuring them of political support. He provided this by proposing the two-nation theory, later echoed by Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Savarkar was also an accused in the Gandhi murder trial, and got away on technical grounds. To expend political energy on him seems ill-timed.