BENGALURU: The debate on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a contentious, misunderstood or forgotten freedom fighter, whose name often figures in political conversations, continued at the launch of historian Vikram Sampath’s recent book, Savarkar - Echoes from a Forgotten Past, on Friday. Sampath was in conversation with former Infosys director Mohandas Pai, and advocate Aditya Sondhi, and the talk was moderated by mediaperson Vasanthi Hariprakash.
Sampath pointed out that Savarkar would have been happy that the India that has fructified after Partition was his vision and not Gandhi’s. Admitting that it could be a controversial take, he said people should have the maturity to accept it. “I don’t know why I was so late in writing about him,” said Sampath, who has come out with the first part of the two-volume book.
Though Bhagat Singh and Subash Chandra Bose have been given prominence in history books, Pai felt that Savarkar’s absence is a deliberate attempt to write history to promote one particular idealogy. “The government must trust its people; no one is going to hate anyone about a piece of history. It’s white washing by the Leftists,” he said, adding that his understanding of Savarkar has been rather recent.
Sampath agreed he hadn’t come across Savarkar in history books, and learnt his significance in 2003 when the “Vajpayee government put up his photograph in Central Hall of Parliament, and the ugly episode when the UPA government removed it.”
He also mentioned that the translation of the book into different languages is being discussed, besides using a digital medium that appeals to the millennials, considering that the stormy subject lends itself to an interesting series.