From the last few days, a pernicious attempt is being made by members of the left intelligentsia to discredit author and historian Vikram Sampath and his oeuvre of work, especially his volumes on freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. Through what appeared a concerted attempt to tarnish his reputation, several luminaries of the left, including apologist of Mughals Audrey Truschke, took to social media to make defamatory and slanderous allegations against him.
It all started with a letter written by three professors from universities in the US including Ananya Chakravarti, Rohit Chopra and Audrey Truschke, who accused Sampath of “plagiarism” in his two-volume biography of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar. In their letter, they requested the Royal Historical Society(RHS), which recently admitted Sampath as a member, to initiate action against the renowned historian.
The accusation against Sampath over alleged plagiarism came in two parts – one where the professors claimed that the author has not quoted the works of Scholars Vinayak Chaturvedi and Janaki Bakhale in his speech to the Indian Foundation. The second, on another hand, was a hard-hitting claim of Vikram Sampath not crediting a thesis by a deceased undergraduate student Paul Schaffel from Wesleyan University in 2012. However, a simple deconstruction of the letter indicates that the case against Sampath is rather weak, and probably borne out of malice for his remarkable scholarship of the revolutionary leader VD Savarkar.
Pertinently, the claims made in the letter were fiercely contested by Sampath, who also resorted to legal recourse to challenge the allegations of plagiarism levelled against him. Sampath approached the Delhi High Court against the academic, especially Truschke, whose tweet he has described as ‘defamatory’. Truschke had tweeted the letter and accused Sampath of indulging in plagiarism.
Notwithstanding Sampath’s move to approach the Delhi High Court against the malicious campaign mounted against him, apparently to discredit his biography on Savarkar, the online bullies from the Left sprung into action amplifying slanderous allegations of plagiarism made against Sampath and besmirching his reputation.
Dr Sampath faces online bullying after ‘historians’ accuse him of plagiarism in his books on Veer Savarkar
Like conscientious foot-soldiers, a host of left-leaning liberals joined their ideological brethren in smearing Vikram Sampath with spurious allegations of plagiarism against him because he dared to challenge the Left’s negative portrayal of Veer Savarkar. Twitter was replete with posts by left ideologues and their supporters denigrating Vikram for his two-volume biography on India’s most-reviled freedom fighter, Veer Savarkar.
Some left-leaning intellectuals who were spoiling to have a go at Dr Sampath used the plagiarism row to take potshots at the noted historians.
A Twitter user even suggested that it is Dr Sampath’s responsibility to prove the allegations of plagiarism are instead of asking his detractors to furnish incontrovertible evidence that proves his culpability. Apparently, when Rana Ayyub was accused of committing fraud under the pretext of helping the poor and needy, these very same leftist foot-soldiers went around declaring her innocence and accusing the Centre of indulging in political vendetta.
Freedom fighter Veer Savarkar remains the most-reviled historical figures by the Left intelligentsia
Veer Savarkar has long been maligned by historians sympathetic to the Congress and the Left for his unalloyed support for Hindus and propounding the Hindutva ideology. A meticulously slanted narrative demonising him—from accusing him of being involved in Gandhi’s murder to making common cause with the British—has been peddled so that Hindus are guilt-tripped into following the path advocated by him. The Left has also cited apologies tendered by Savarkar to the British to belittle his contribution to India’s freedom struggle without elaborating the rigorous travails he had to suffer during his incarceration in the Andamans and later in Ratnagiri.
Vikram Sampath tried to challenge this prevailing narrative that was assiduously crafted by the Left and sought to present an objective analysis of Savarkar’s life, the struggles he endured and the choices he made. In addition to this, it was also perhaps the first time in history that an author elaborated on Veer Savarkar’s point of view through analysis of literary work undertaken by the freedom fighter. Until now, those who claim to provide “scholarship” on Savarkar often ignored his academic writings and furnished opinions on Savarkar from the leftist prism.
Some of them who did try to take into account his academic work took great liberty in twisting or misrepresenting them since most of the literature composed by Savarkar was in Marathi and thus had a limited reach. The propagandists used this limitation to the hilt, bastardising Veer Savarkar’s work or providing it out of context to build on their campaign to malign the freedom fighter.
Dr Sampath’s biography presents unvarnished truth about Congress treachery in British India, debunks Left’s fabricated myths on Savarkar
However, Dr Sampath analysed Savarkar’s Marathi compositions and offered an unalloyed exegesis of them, thereby providing a greater insight into what Savarkar wanted to convey through his literary work and his ideological moorings rather than relying on prejudiced accounts of his work through the agency of liberal ‘historians’, who more often than not did not consider it important to examine Savarkar’s Marathi compositions. Sampath’s attempt to provide a thorough examination of Savarkar’s work had obviously drawn the ire of the left cabal, who had spent years vilifying one of the earliest proponents of Hindutva ideologue.
Besides presenting unvarnished facts about Veer Savarkar’s life, Dr Sampath also presented sordid details of Congress’ treachery in the pre-independent India. Providing Savarkar’s take on Congress and Gandhi, Dr Sampath’s book states that the grand old party often took contradictory stances in their fight against the British, thereby confusing masses on their stand against the foreign imperialism. For instance, the book cites two instances—Non Cooperation movement and Civil Disobedience Movement—when the party, on the insistence of Gandhi, called off the rebellion when it was reaching a crescendo and turning into a national movement.
In his book, Dr Sampath also presents specific instances that underscore Congress’ treachery against Hindus. It said the Congress and the Gandhis participated in the Khilafat movement although the campaign had little to do with subcontinent Muslims. This movement ultimately led to the Moplah massacre of Hindus, but the Congress and Gandhi refused to outrightly condemn it, lest it would disenchant Muslims away from the party. Hindu concerns were disregarded as communal and alarmist while great efforts were undertaken by the Congress to appease Muslims, seemingly in order to wean Muslim support away from the League.
However, as it turned out, the Congress failed in attracting Muslims under its fold while also alienating Hindus with its minority appeasement policy, Dr Sampath averred in his book citing Savarkar’s correspondences from that time. Thus, the book not only debunked the carefully manufactured myths surrounding Savarkar but it also exposed Congress and Gandhi for betraying hallowed principle of “secularism” and going out on their limb to win over Muslim support, and still failing.
Naturally, the biography was a revelation for the majority of the Indians who have grown up reading prejudiced accounts of one of the country’s foremost freedom fighters and a prolific writer of his time. It shattered the Left’s myth of considering themselves as the sole guardians of intellectualism and history and stripped them of their privilege to decide who could be celebrated as icons.
Contrary to the left ideologues’ patently partisan take on Savarkar, Dr Sampath provided a dispassionate analysis of facts, providing truth as it is without any embellishment as the Left often resorts to in order to reinforce its narrative. The two-volume biography of Veer Savarkar by Dr Sampath is by no means a eulogy to the freedom fighter, absolving him of his mistakes or aggrandising him for his accomplishments. Rather, it seeks to present facts as they are, sans the perversion that has often featured in the Left’s “scholarship” on Savarkar.
The Left’s online bullying of Vikram Sampath betrays desperation to salvage their fabricated historical accounts
Dr Sampath’s audacity to disembowel Left’s propaganda on Savarkar and lay bare the reality expectedly prompted a fierce pushback from the Left intellectuals who have been used to building narratives and commanding obedience. Since Dr Sampath refused to toe their line and defiantly presented facts that undermine the Left’s partisan narrative, they launched a full-frontal attack against the distinguished historian, targeting his reputation and ipso facto his body of work.
This targeted campaign against Dr Sampath and the online bullying that followed in its wake demonstrates the Left’s desperation in clinging on to control thoughts of people. For decades, they have been holding sway over popular perceptions, but since 2014, after PM Modi came to power, their grip over public discourse and historical narrative has slackened dramatically as lies and myths propped up by them have come crashing down.
In this context, Dr Sampath’s scholarship on Savarkar has served yet another body blow to the Left’s attempt to obfuscate facts and present a fabricated historical narrative that jibes perfectly well with their Nehruvian propaganda. His book has not only busted myths about Savarkar but also exposed the treachery of Congress and its senior leaders that ‘liberals’ draw inspiration from and swore their allegiance to. Witnessing their authority being challenged, their propaganda being busted and their credibility being undermined,
the Left and their loyal digital warriors have launched a concerted shrill attack against Dr Sampath, trying desperately to maintain their relevance and salvage their concocted historical accounts.