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Did Marx’s grandson endorse Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology?

A look at RSS's attempts to legitimise problematic stands taken by their favourite leaders by claiming they were endorsed by world-renowned thinkers

Veeraiah Konduri 31 May 2021

Image Courtesy:theprint.in

Recently a column titled “How Karl Marx’s grandson fought for Savarkar against British in International Court of Justice” was shared widely. It was written by Arun Anand, a believer of RSS ideology, heading VicharVinimay Kendra for The Print web edition. The title of the article itself is mischievously phrased in such a manner to raise doubts in the minds of people who follow rational thinking in general and in particular the followers of the Left.

Sum and substance of the argument presented in that article is that the grandson of Karl Marx who follows Marx ideology himself supported Savarkar, considered him as India’s freedom fighter and his ideology whereas the Marxists in India are dead against his ideology. The argument presented here is intended to achieve two goals. Firstly, RSS’s think tanks endeavour to transform a deeply contentious and divisive ideologue into a world scale leader who was and has been accepted and revered by all, cutting across the political or ideological differences. Secondly to seed doubts over the staunch opposition of Left in India in general and Marxists in particular to Savarkar's idea of Hindu Rashtra i.e Hindutva.

Let us look into facts of Marx's grandson's alleged endorsement of Savarkar and his ideology.

As it is part of history now, Savarkar tried to escape from British mercantile ship SS Morea while transporting him from London to Mumbai to face court proceedings pending against him at the then Bombay. On being pursued by British police authorities escorting him on SS Morea, the French police personnel caught Savarkar and handed over to British authorities. This was considered as an affront on the right to political asylum in France, the opposition parties, particularly the socialists took it up as a civil rights issue of subjects of the French territory. Most of the socialists in Europe rallied behind the French Socialists. Finally yielding under the pressure from public opinion, French government filed a case of arbitration whose verdict sided with British authority to take Savarkar back into their custody. (Source: https://legal.un.org/riaa/cases/vol_XI/243-255.pdf.)

We should be careful about this fact. The case before the International Court of Justice was the principle “Once alyssum is refused is returned to the native authority cannot be extradited back as asylum holder.” (Source: https://lawhelpbd.com/case/savarkar-case-1911/) But not in the case of Savarkar and his ideology or his role in India’s freedom movement. It was also a case about territorial rights and respecting the international treaties between France and Great Britain. The author mischievously presented this as a case in which Jean Longuet, socialist leader and grandson of Karl Marx became a vocal supporter of Savarkar and his cause. This kind of false proposition can be made out only by undercutting the specific context of the issue in discussion. This is not a new phenomenon for Sangh ideologues. They intend to give a completely different picture by reordering the sequence, changing the phrases used, picking a selected vocabulary out of context and placing it in today’s political context to make their case genuine for laymen. 

In his commitment to civil rights in general and political asylum rights in particular, as leading intellectual of the French socialist movement of the day, Jean Longuet questioned the authority of British over a subject landed on French territory. While doing so Longuet in his affidavit filed before the International Court of Justice used the word Hindu on several occasions which was a prevalent phenomenon of European writings to use this word to refer to India and Indians. This usage is deliberately being used to showcase as if Longuet endorsed Savarkar’s ideology of Hindutva. This can be seen from the fact that Longuet while referring to Tilak, the towering political personality of the times, and noted freedom fighter as leader of Hindu nationalist party.

Let us quote two sources to establish our contention. Longuet in his commentary in the socialist newsweekly that he edited, L’Humanite , on 12 July wherein he states, “ But it is quite impossible that the matter can be allowed to rest there. In delivering up a political refugee the Marseilles authorities admitting that they had acted on their own initiative have committed an outrage of which account will most assuredly be demanded and in respect of which the sanction of the state itself is necessary.” The Daily Press which is allegedly pro-establishment in its contemptuous comment stated that it was because of Savarkar’s compatriot who lobbied with the French Socialists to take up the cause of right to political asylum. The French newspaper Petit Provincial, a detailed article published titling The Odyssey of a Revolutionary Hindu argued that the arrest of Savarkar and attempt to hush up will be negation of French character and any defence of individual liberty. Petit clearly informed that the Indians (Hindu colony) in Paris, requested Jaurès and Cadenat to intercede into the matter.

Jean Longuet, after reconstructing the sequence of events, concluded his arguments by exposing the Britains double standards of claiming to have been a safe refuge for revolutionaries of other countries in the past, but doing quite the opposite with a revolutionary who challenged their power, “As for violent means, if their employment were sufficient to qualify as murderers or those who advocate anarchist means, England would never have boasted of being in the last century, the  mother of exiles’, the haven of Mazzini, Kossuth, Karl Marx, Garibaldi, refugees from the Commune or the Russian Revolution, as well as French monarchists and dethroned sovereigns after the revolutions of 1830, 1848, and 1870.” (Source: Savarkar: Echoes from A Forgotten Past, page 305). Nowhere in his articles written in this context and in his pleading before ICJ, Longuet endorsed the Hindutva ideology professed by Savarkar at his later part of the life.

(Source: https://savarkar.org/en/pdfs/L_Humanite_translation.pdf)

The international court of justice adjudicated in favour of Britain. There was a huge cry in Europe’s progressive media over the ICJ judgement. The Morning Post decried it as something that had reduced the right to asylum and the international law to farce.

Thus, the whole episode construing Marx grandson’s advocacy for Savarkar’s right to political asylum as his support to ideology professed by Savarkar is the best example how Sangh Parivar constructs its own history out of vacuum in a deceitful manner. The Hindutva ideology was construed by Savarkar during his times at Andaman’s Cellular jail but not during his previous avatar as freedom fighter nor during his days of stay at Gray’s Inn, London. But the Parivar think tanks are bent upon to prove the fact that Savarkar was an avowed Hindutva ideologist from his initial days. This is nothing but hagiography of Sangh’s mark. Nor Longuet was wrong in standing in defence of the right to political asylum and standing for the independence movements of third world countries, which was and is the tradition of Communist and Socialist parties since Marx.

*The author is a scholar in the field of Dalit and Minorities studies.

Related:

Supersizing victimhood: Hindu Right's appropriation of Islamophobia, the Jewish Holocaust & Indigenous struggles
Hindu Nationalism: From genesis to present ruling dispensation

 

Did Marx’s grandson endorse Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology?

A look at RSS's attempts to legitimise problematic stands taken by their favourite leaders by claiming they were endorsed by world-renowned thinkers

Image Courtesy:theprint.in

Recently a column titled “How Karl Marx’s grandson fought for Savarkar against British in International Court of Justice” was shared widely. It was written by Arun Anand, a believer of RSS ideology, heading VicharVinimay Kendra for The Print web edition. The title of the article itself is mischievously phrased in such a manner to raise doubts in the minds of people who follow rational thinking in general and in particular the followers of the Left.

Sum and substance of the argument presented in that article is that the grandson of Karl Marx who follows Marx ideology himself supported Savarkar, considered him as India’s freedom fighter and his ideology whereas the Marxists in India are dead against his ideology. The argument presented here is intended to achieve two goals. Firstly, RSS’s think tanks endeavour to transform a deeply contentious and divisive ideologue into a world scale leader who was and has been accepted and revered by all, cutting across the political or ideological differences. Secondly to seed doubts over the staunch opposition of Left in India in general and Marxists in particular to Savarkar's idea of Hindu Rashtra i.e Hindutva.

Let us look into facts of Marx's grandson's alleged endorsement of Savarkar and his ideology.

As it is part of history now, Savarkar tried to escape from British mercantile ship SS Morea while transporting him from London to Mumbai to face court proceedings pending against him at the then Bombay. On being pursued by British police authorities escorting him on SS Morea, the French police personnel caught Savarkar and handed over to British authorities. This was considered as an affront on the right to political asylum in France, the opposition parties, particularly the socialists took it up as a civil rights issue of subjects of the French territory. Most of the socialists in Europe rallied behind the French Socialists. Finally yielding under the pressure from public opinion, French government filed a case of arbitration whose verdict sided with British authority to take Savarkar back into their custody. (Source: https://legal.un.org/riaa/cases/vol_XI/243-255.pdf.)

We should be careful about this fact. The case before the International Court of Justice was the principle “Once alyssum is refused is returned to the native authority cannot be extradited back as asylum holder.” (Source: https://lawhelpbd.com/case/savarkar-case-1911/) But not in the case of Savarkar and his ideology or his role in India’s freedom movement. It was also a case about territorial rights and respecting the international treaties between France and Great Britain. The author mischievously presented this as a case in which Jean Longuet, socialist leader and grandson of Karl Marx became a vocal supporter of Savarkar and his cause. This kind of false proposition can be made out only by undercutting the specific context of the issue in discussion. This is not a new phenomenon for Sangh ideologues. They intend to give a completely different picture by reordering the sequence, changing the phrases used, picking a selected vocabulary out of context and placing it in today’s political context to make their case genuine for laymen. 

In his commitment to civil rights in general and political asylum rights in particular, as leading intellectual of the French socialist movement of the day, Jean Longuet questioned the authority of British over a subject landed on French territory. While doing so Longuet in his affidavit filed before the International Court of Justice used the word Hindu on several occasions which was a prevalent phenomenon of European writings to use this word to refer to India and Indians. This usage is deliberately being used to showcase as if Longuet endorsed Savarkar’s ideology of Hindutva. This can be seen from the fact that Longuet while referring to Tilak, the towering political personality of the times, and noted freedom fighter as leader of Hindu nationalist party.

Let us quote two sources to establish our contention. Longuet in his commentary in the socialist newsweekly that he edited, L’Humanite , on 12 July wherein he states, “ But it is quite impossible that the matter can be allowed to rest there. In delivering up a political refugee the Marseilles authorities admitting that they had acted on their own initiative have committed an outrage of which account will most assuredly be demanded and in respect of which the sanction of the state itself is necessary.” The Daily Press which is allegedly pro-establishment in its contemptuous comment stated that it was because of Savarkar’s compatriot who lobbied with the French Socialists to take up the cause of right to political asylum. The French newspaper Petit Provincial, a detailed article published titling The Odyssey of a Revolutionary Hindu argued that the arrest of Savarkar and attempt to hush up will be negation of French character and any defence of individual liberty. Petit clearly informed that the Indians (Hindu colony) in Paris, requested Jaurès and Cadenat to intercede into the matter.

Jean Longuet, after reconstructing the sequence of events, concluded his arguments by exposing the Britains double standards of claiming to have been a safe refuge for revolutionaries of other countries in the past, but doing quite the opposite with a revolutionary who challenged their power, “As for violent means, if their employment were sufficient to qualify as murderers or those who advocate anarchist means, England would never have boasted of being in the last century, the  mother of exiles’, the haven of Mazzini, Kossuth, Karl Marx, Garibaldi, refugees from the Commune or the Russian Revolution, as well as French monarchists and dethroned sovereigns after the revolutions of 1830, 1848, and 1870.” (Source: Savarkar: Echoes from A Forgotten Past, page 305). Nowhere in his articles written in this context and in his pleading before ICJ, Longuet endorsed the Hindutva ideology professed by Savarkar at his later part of the life.

(Source: https://savarkar.org/en/pdfs/L_Humanite_translation.pdf)

The international court of justice adjudicated in favour of Britain. There was a huge cry in Europe’s progressive media over the ICJ judgement. The Morning Post decried it as something that had reduced the right to asylum and the international law to farce.

Thus, the whole episode construing Marx grandson’s advocacy for Savarkar’s right to political asylum as his support to ideology professed by Savarkar is the best example how Sangh Parivar constructs its own history out of vacuum in a deceitful manner. The Hindutva ideology was construed by Savarkar during his times at Andaman’s Cellular jail but not during his previous avatar as freedom fighter nor during his days of stay at Gray’s Inn, London. But the Parivar think tanks are bent upon to prove the fact that Savarkar was an avowed Hindutva ideologist from his initial days. This is nothing but hagiography of Sangh’s mark. Nor Longuet was wrong in standing in defence of the right to political asylum and standing for the independence movements of third world countries, which was and is the tradition of Communist and Socialist parties since Marx.

*The author is a scholar in the field of Dalit and Minorities studies.

Related:

Supersizing victimhood: Hindu Right's appropriation of Islamophobia, the Jewish Holocaust & Indigenous struggles
Hindu Nationalism: From genesis to present ruling dispensation

 

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