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How Motilal Nehru pulled a few strings and Jawaharlal Nehru signed a bond to get out of Nabha jail in just two weeks of ‘harsh conditions’

Ironically, Nehru who buckled under mere two weeks pressure is branded as a great leader, freedom fighter and a nationalist by the Congress, whereas Veer Savarkar who was given 2 life imprisonment of 50 years at the infamous Kaala Pani prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been termed a "traitor" and "British stooge" by the same people.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, or Veer Savarkar as he is popularly known, has always been ignored by historians and demonised by the Congress. The Congress government, post-independence, deliberately ignored him and did not honour him as he should have been. Be it attributing words like “traitor” or “homosexual”, Congress continues its saga of belittling the brilliance and allegiance of Veer Savarkar till today.

Congress maligning Veer Savarkar

Congress has on several occasions attempted to malign Veer Savarkar’s contributions to India’s freedom by branding him as a “loyal colonialist”. Overseeing the suffering he had undergone and the truthful motives behind all his actions, the Congress has tried to slander the freedom fighter sacrifices several times by portraying him a ‘traitor’ and a ‘British stooge’. Congress has gone to the extent of garlanding Savarkar’s statue with a shoe or blackening it to express their hatred towards that freedom fighter. They have purportedly given the reason as Savarkar writing petitions “begging for clemency” from the British while in jail in the Andamans, where he was incarcerated from 1911 to 1921. 

Jawaharlal Nehru buckled under pressure

When Congress members tell us today that Savarkar was “anti-national” because he sent ‘mercy petitions and clemencies’ to British in jail, I simply ask, what would they call Jawaharlal Nehru who had signed a bond with the British, merely after spending 2 weeks in the Nabha Jail in 1923.

According to the plaque at the Nabha jail site, Nehru was arrested along with K Santanam and AT Gidwani on September 22, 1923, for defying an order banning entry into the princely state of Nabha. He was awarded a jail term of 2 years. However, not being able to withstand the complexities, Nehru, only after two-weeks signed a bond, never to enter the princely state of Nabha again.

Prof Chaman Lal, renowned chronicler of India’s freedom struggle and an ex-professor at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had confirmed that “Nehru was detained for a few hours in the Jaitu police cell, while he was kept for around two weeks in the Nabha jail.”

Prof Lal stated that compared to other jails where Nehru was kept, including Naini and Gorakhpur, he received ill-treatment at the hands of the police and jail authorities in Nabha. “Nehru was released from the Nabha jail only after he signed a bond that he would never enter the princely state again!” he said.

It is believed that Nehru’s father, Motilal Nehru, had even reached out to the Viceroy asking for a recommendation to get him released. K Santanam, a freedom fighter who was imprisoned with Nehru, in his famous memoir ‘Handcuffed with Jawaharlal’ had said: “Our imprisonment in the Nabha jail was not known to the outside world. Pandit Motilal Nehru got worried and tried to ascertain our whereabouts from various officials and non-officials in Punjab. Failing to get any reply, he approached the Viceroy himself who got the information from Nabha.”

“This took two to three days. The authorities of the Nabha jail suddenly changed their attitude and arrangements were made for our bathing. Our clothes were given to us and friends from outside were allowed to send fruits and other eatables,” Santanam had recalled.

In his autobiography, Nehru had himself mentioned that the atrocities, he and his colleagues, faced in Nabha Jail, prompted them to sign a bond of compliance with the British, to never enter the territory of Nabha, again.

“In Nabha Jail we were all three kept in a most unwholesome and unsanitary cell. It was small and damp, with a low ceiling which we could almost touch. At night we slept on the floor, and I would wake up with a start, full of horror, to find that a rat or a mouse had just passed over my face,” wrote Jawaharlal Nehru.

Ironically, Nehru who buckled under mere two weeks pressure is branded as a great leader, freedom fighter and a nationalist by the Congress, whereas Veer Savarkar who was given 2 life imprisonment of 50 years at the infamous Kaala Pani prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been termed a “traitor” and “British stooge” by the same people.

Veer Savarkar and his cellular jail ordeal

At Cellular Jail, Veer Savarkar was subjected to unconscionable torture and inhumane treatment that tested the very limits of his conviction. He was, reportedly, restrained in chains, flogged, and resigned to six months of solitary confinement. The British, made him pound coir with his bare hands where his hands were often dripped with blood. He had to manually turn a massive wheel, that would squeeze coconuts for oil and had to produce about 30 pounds a day. While this punishment was only given to those who were “not behaving with the guards”, Savarkar was often made to do it despite his good conduct.

Left all alone, he scraped poems on the prison walls. In order to torment him, the guards whitewashed the walls on which he scraped poems. By some accounts, he was often forced to eat rotten food infested with worms and insects as punishment for his ‘crimes’ against the government. Having to go through life all alone, being allowed to write letters once in a year and a half, to his loved ones and going through tremendous physical and mental torture in a compressed cell.

Following the closure of the prison at Port Blair, Savarkar was eventually deported to Ratnagiri Prison in May of 1921, where his torture continued.

Unlike numerous political prisoners who were driven to insanity or committed suicide, Savarkar showed remarkable resilience. He wrote strategic letters of ploy to the Britishers, not only for himself but for others also, to get out of jail, which the Congress has been shamelessly twisting for decades now. One here needs to ask, how many top leaders of the Congress had to suffer such harsh punishments?

Savarkar demanded complete independence from the British

Let us not forget that he was the one who formed the revolutionary secret society- Mitra Mela, which later got renamed to Abhinav Bharat Society in the early 1900s. Savarkar demanded complete independence from the British, a thought that was not yet conceived then. He also led the central role in starting the revolutionary movement in London, where he gathered people to fight for India’s independence.

We should never forget the harsh treatment meted out to him in the cellular jail of Andaman for eleven long years. He got a conditional release only to be detained in Ratnagiri for a significant part of his life. Criticizing is an easy task, but one should delve in deeper before coming to any conclusions!

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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