Gandhi Memorial Museum features Savarkar on its latest issue drawing criticism

The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Smriti (GSDS) is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), the national memorial and museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, brought out a special edition that features Hindutva leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar on its June cover issue.

The Hindi language magazine titled Antim Jan features Savarkar on Hindutva and late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Savarkar. Moreover, a portion of Savarkar’s book Hindutva has also been adapted.

According to The Hindu, it also includes articles by writers on “Deshbhakt Savarkar” (patriot Savarkar) and “Veer Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi”. An article by the editor of the magazine, Praveen Dutt Sharma, titled “Gandhi ka Gussa” (Gandhi’s anger) has been included as well.

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It should be noted that the GSDS is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

When asked about the cover story and the theme of the book, GSDS vice-chairperson Vijay Goel told The Hindu that the decision to feature Savarkar on the cover page was taken since it was his birth anniversary on May 28.

“Veer Savarkar was a great man. So was Gandhi, so was Patel. We have to learn from their sacrifice. No one else spent as much time behind bars as Savarkar during the British rule,” Goel said, adding that the magazine will continue to produce issues on freedom fighters.

The August issue will have the theme of ‘Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark 75 years of Independence.

Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi expressed shock and offense over the June issue. He said that all the Gandhian institutions are controlled by an administration who are hell-bent on making Savarkar equivalent to Mahatma Gandhi.

“It is going to happen more and more with this administration that is controlling the Gandhian institutions. That is where the danger of political ideology overpowering the ideology of Gandhi exists. We have been protesting against that. It also shows their desperation to equate Savarkar with Gandhi. It shows how frivolous and shaky their conviction about Savarkar is. This is all very planned strategy of corrupting Gandhian ideology and creating a new narrative which is convenient for the present regime,” Gandhi said.

Agreeing with Tushar Gandhi, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the Centre is trying to show Savarkar as a man with great power, an agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“Savarkar is being lionised. This is the agenda of the RSS. But history speaks volumes of Savarkar’s stand towards British imperialism. The history of the country is being distorted to satisfy the present government. This is very unfortunate.” Chowdhury said.

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