Maharashtra to celebrate Hindutva leader Savarkar’s birth anniversary

An aerial view shows a massive rally of Hindutva groups protesting against Muslims in Mumbai in January 2023. [Photo: Twitter/ RajaSingh]

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday announced that the state will celebrate May 28 – the upcoming birth anniversary of the state’s Hindutva leader Vinayak D Savarkar – as the ‘Swatantryaveer Gaurav Day,’ in Mumbai.

Vinayak D. Savarkar, later revered as ‘Swatantryaveer Savarkar’ was born in Bhagur, Nashik, on May 28, 1883 and passed away on February 26, 1966 in Mumbai, IANS reported. Next month will mark his 140th birth anniversary.

Shinde said that many events and activities shall be organised to highlight Savarkar’s huge contribution to India’s freedom movement, propagate his ideology, and focus on his campaigns for social reforms and abolition of untouchability, all over the state.

Proposing the ‘Swatantryaveer Guarav Day’, state Minister Uday Samant said that Savarkar played a major role in Maharashtra politics and tributes would be paid to his patriotism, courage and progressive thinking for the younger generations.

The Opposition Shiv Sena (UBT) has demanded that the ruling Shinde Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state should call upon the BJP at the GoI to confer the Bharat Ratna on Swatantryaveer Savarkar.

The Congress, including senior leaders like Rahul Gandhi, has adopted a critical stance vis-A-vis Swatantryaveer Savarkar role during the Independence struggle, while the Nationalist Congress Party has maintained a neutral position in view of the strong public sentiments.

Pertinently, starting November last year, at least 50 ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’ rallies have been held across Maharashtra, in almost all of the state’s 36 districts.

Each of these events has followed a set pattern: a brief march through the heart of the city, amid a sea of saffron flags and caps, followed by a short rally, where speakers on a makeshift dais attack minorities, invoke “love jihad”, “land jihad”, “forced conversions”, and call for the economic boycott of the Muslim community.

For the record, the BJP distances itself from these rallies, saying they are by the Sakal Hindu Samaj, an umbrella body of Hindutva and Sangh organisations, but almost all of these events have had the presence of party leaders, including the local BJP MLA and MP.

The speeches, however, are largely delivered by right-wing hardliners, including suspended BJP leader and Telangana MLA T Raja Singh, Kalicharan Maharaj and Kajal Hindustani — at least two of them (Singh and Maharaj) face hate speech cases both in the state and elsewhere.

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