A quote attributed to Savarkar has been going around in academic circles which shows that Savarkar supported Jinnah’s two nation theory. This article examines the quote and its implications.
The quote is “I have no quarrel with Mr Jinnah’s two-nation theory. We Hindus are a nation by ourselves and it is a historical fact that Hindus and Muslims are two nations (sic)”.
So, what is the (primary) source of this quote? Is it real or fabricated? Let us examine.
One can find this quote in Prabhu Narain Bapu’s PhD. thesis titled ‘Constructing Nation and History Hindu Mahasabha in Colonial North India 1915-1930′ submitted to the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London in November 2009. (For the online version of the thesis, click here)
You can see (below) that the page 77 of the thesis contains the aforementioned quote.
If you look closely, you will find that the primary source quoted by the PhD. scholar is ‘111 Savarkar, Hindu Rashtra Darshan, p. 14-5,20, 24.’
It appears baffling that a PhD thesis submitted to the ‘prestigious’ University of London contains such a mistake. However, our quest here is not to judge but to enumerate and construe.
Taking a slight detour, it would be important to state the fact that Dhruv Rathee (a pro-AAP YouTuber), in order to prove that Savarkar was responsible for partition, cited this quote from a book which was written by this very PhD. scholar Prabhu Narain Bapu. Also, the said book was based on this very thesis.
Highlighted is Savarkar’s own quote from 1943— Dhruv Rathee 🇮🇳 (@dhruv_rathee) December 9, 2019
Sourced from a book written by London School of Economics graduate who has a PhD in history. It reflects the whole ideology of Hindu Mahasabha more than the single line you quoted
Link – https://t.co/9p066t0XZF pic.twitter.com/6q2NAuMemd
Coming back to topic, where did this quote then come from? A website maintained by Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal & Gandhi Research Foundation states that these words were said by Savarkar in 1945. Their stated source is ‘vide Indian Educational Register 1943 vol. 2 page 10’. However, it is inimical to common sense and logic that a document published/written in 1943 would contain a quote from 1945. The website can be accessed here (click).
The source (Indian Educational Register, 1943, Vol.2, page 10) is also known as Indian Annual Register. Prof. Shamsul Islam cites this very source for the quote but mentions the date of the quote to be 15th August, 1943 and the place to be Nagpur in an article for the Counterview blog. Link to that article is this (click).
The link to the relevant volume of Indian Annual Register is this (click). One can find this quote in the document. The date is 15th August, 1943 and the venue is Kanpur.
If viewed from here, it appears that:
1. The the quote is real.
2. Narain Prabhu Bapu merely misquoted in his PhD. thesis (still a grave mistake).
3. The website maintained by Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal & Gandhi Research Foundation merely gave the wrong year (1945 instead of 1943).
4. Savarkar indeed supported the two nation theory.
As with most of the things, the devil lies in the details here. As you can see, the document also mentions that Savarkar wanted to join hand with those who agreed with four basic provisions:
1. Territorial Integrity of India
2. Majority rule in provinces and the Centre
3. Residuary powers in the Centre
4. Recruitment to civil services on merit alone
Let us now revise, what exactly is the Two nation theory of Jinnah. At Lahore session of the Muslim League, he had put forward a resolution surmising his demand. That and his other principles of the theory can be summarized as follows:
1. Partition: He wanted Muslim majority ““Independent States” in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign (sic)”
2. Minority rights in India: He wanted “adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specially provided in the constitution” for “the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests”.
3. Separate interests of Muslims and Hindus: Whole of the resolution was based on the idea that the interests of the two communities are fundamentally different and they cannot be welded into one nation. This can be understood from the use of the term ”Muslim India”.
4. Provincial autonomy and recruitment: Earlier, he had suggested that only in few subjects should remain with centre and the rest including the residuary powers shall remain with the provinces (Point one and two of Jinnah’s fourteen points). Further, he wanted reservation for Muslims in recruitment to public service (Point eleven of the said points).
One can refer to the Lahore Resoultion of the Muslim League and Jinnah’s fourteen points as the source of the above.
It becomes extremely clear, hence, that while Jinnah wanted partition, Savarkar wanted Territorial Integrity of India. Jinnah wanted minority representation while Savarkar wanted Majority rule. Jinnah wanted residuary powers to reside in the provinces but Savarkar wanted them to reside in Centre. Jinnah wanted reservation in recruitment to civil/public service while Savarkar wanted merit to be the sole criterion. How can then be that Savarkar had ‘no quarrel’ with Jinnah’s two nation theory?
Vikram Sampath in his latest book (biography) of Savarkar titled ‘Savarkar (Part 2): A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966’ has cleared the issue.
Savarkar’s views were distorted and presented as he himself claimed in an interview to Kaal daily on 19 August, 1943. It can safely be concluded, hence, that Savarkar did not want the partition of the country.