https://bharatmimamsa.com/savarkar-on-f ... y-affairs/Savarkar on Foreign and Security Affairs
by Sandesh Samant | May 28, 2020 |
Veer Savarkar is often discussed as one of the extremist leaders of Indian freedom struggle and the movement of nationalism in India. Much of the discussion revolves around his contribution in freedom struggle and the hardships that he faced in the British Indian Empire. As the writer Vikram Sampath states that, “Revolutionary as a terminology is generally coupled with the Communists. But, Veer Savarkar was a revolutionary and he wasn’t a Communist.”
However, one of least discussed aspects of Savarkar’s life is his views on India’s foreign relations and security policies. He was a pragmatist and his views of foreign policy were driven by his knowledge of the two World Wars and the world order during his time. Savarkar had spent a good amount of time in the United Kingdom and had observed the political developments in Europe very closely. Although he was imprisoned at the Andaman during the course of the First World War, he was updated about the developments about it. Having studied various ideologies and behaviours of societies and civilisation, he was ahead of his time to analyse the course of future political processes.
Foreign policies are generally driven by ideologies of policy makers. Savarkar, however, did not believe in one particular ideology. His ideas were shaped by the experience of colonisation of India by the British. According to him India’s weaknesses were exploited by the British to colonise the county. Hence, he believed in the masculine superiority of state. He was definitely a staunch realist; but, he refused to believe in any one ‘ism’ to form the country’s foreign policy. He stated, “We should never hate or love Fascists, Bolshevists or Democrats simply on the ground of any theoretical or bookish reasons. There was no reason to suppose that Hitler was a human monster because he passed as Nazi and Churchill was a demi-God because he called himself a democrat.”
In the contemporary world order and considering the formation of the United Nations and its impacts on the world affairs, Savarkar’s ideas stand the testimony of time. It was also the reason he advised the policymakers to focus on heavy militarisation. He was strong proponent of India’s nuclear programme. Contrary to common belief, Savarkar wasn’t particularly against the idea of a ‘non-violent’ state; but, he was of the opinion that non-violence shouldn’t make the state weak which may invite crisis. He was influenced by the principles of Mahabharata and Ramayana where Krishna convinced Arjuna to render justice through violence and Ram too resorted to a war.
He’d anticipated the demand of Pakistan and also believed that a neighbouring state like Pakistan which stands on the pillars of religious fundamentalism, shall always pose danger to the security of India. Savarkar was accused of causing paranoia amongst Indians. However, he was proven correct immediately after the formation of Paksistan when it launched an attack on Kashmir and India was engulfed in a war after independence. In last seven decades India had to fight four major wars and innumerable proxy wars against Pakistan.
Savarkar opposed the idea of ‘self-determination’ on religious ground when Sindh was separated from Bombay presidency. He opined that the trend in future would result in the partition of land. Similarly, he insisted the migration of outsiders in the land must be controlled with strict measures. Today, when India is facing the crisis in its Eastern states due to illegal Bangladeshis, Savarkar is proven right yet again.
Similarly, he was a staunch supporter of the Jewish State of Israel. When Israel was established in 1948, India had refused to support the partition of Palestinian soil. Pt. Nehru was of the opinion that, “I confess that while I have a very great deal of sympathy for the Jews, I feel sympathy for the Arabs also…After all these remarkable achievements, why have they [the Jews] failed to gain the goodwill of the Arabs?” India didn’t establish formal relationship with Israel until 1992. In 1956, in Hindu Mahasabha’s annual session at Jodhpur Savarkar said “…that tomorrow if there breaks out a war between Pakistan and Bharat, almost all the Muslim [states] will be arrayed on the side of Pakistan in opposition to us and their enemy Israel will be our only friend. Therefore, I say that Bharat should give an unequivocal recognition to Israel.” He viewed India-Israel ‘friendship’ from religious relations rather than geo-strategic cooperation. In the war of 1962 against China and in 1999 Kargil conflict – on both occasions, Israel stood by India and helped with decisive military equipment. Today, Israel happens to be one of the most important partners of India in anti-terrorism struggle.
Along with Pakistan and Israel, Savarkar was always vocal about his perspectives on China. In 1950s, when India’s policy makers were celebrating ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’, Savarkar had criticised it. (Another important leader to criticise this policy was Dr. B. R. Ambedkar). Savarkar had raised doubts about the intentions of China. He expressed his fear that if China could annex Tibet in 1950; it was a matter of time that China would stake claim on Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh (then NEFA). His views were unconvincing and he was once again accused of causing panic in India. However, 1958 onwards, the relationship between India and China deteriorated and the rest is history.
Another important perspective that he had offered was about Nepal. Recongnising the importance of buffer states on India’s borders, Savarkar had special affection for Nepal. He strongly believed that Nepal maintaining its official ‘Hindu’ identity will always be in India’s interest. Hence, he would often write letters to the King of Nepal over various issues. In 2008, following the massacre in Royal Family, Nepal ceased to be a Hindu state followed by the Maoists forces overtaking Nepal’s politics. Thereafter, the relations between Nepal and India have faced a major setback. Currently, the Maoist influence on Nepal’s politics has resulted in Nepal altering its political map.
There are numerous issues – ranging from Goa to Kashmir and Andaman to Nagaland where Veer Savarkar had expressed his thoughts that were rejected by his contemporary. However, over a period of time, Savarkar’s views remain undefeated. It is the cycle of time that has proven him true in various issues again and again. It is the need of our times to embrace Savarkar that transcends the clichés in our usual discourse.
Views expressed are of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official position of Mimamsa – An Indic Inquiry