The Savarkar secret

Sir, – Dr Sultan Ali Ahmed’s letter (AT, January 16) lifts a corner of a veil that has surrounded one of the least discussed mysteries of modern Indian history. Savarkar is acknowledged to be the mentor of all organizations professing the militant Hindu ideology. His stocks are so high now that his portrait is there among the Indian notables in the parliament gallery. Many has demanded posthumous conferment of Bharat Ratna award on him. His name is preceded by the word ‘Veer’ (hero, man of exceptional valour).

Actually up to the 80s, the various classified documents of British Government in India remained closed to the public. So Savarkar’s role remained a buried secret. And not many were interested in what Savarkar’s actual role had been. But the tireless research of Prof Shamsul Islam has brought to light his murky role in the turn of the 21st century.

It turns out that Savarkar cooperated with prison authorities and kept aloof from other freedom fighters jailed on similar charges in the cellular jail in the Andamans. Then he wrote three long and grovelling letters to the British Government in India asking clemency for his crime, frantically promising he would never again say or do anything against the British rule. The British authorities had him under close watch for years and concluded he would do no more harm and released him from restraint in a phased manner on condition that he would not only act against the British authorities but also serve imperial interests. He was under watch in India too for years and was allowed to leave the town he lived in only with police permission.

His thesis on India having two nations (Hindutva) may well have been his role as a collaborator. But this aspect was little known because since the early 80s, few took interest in these declassified documents.

One hopes this will dampen the enthusiasm for Hindutva among the new adherents of Assam. Yours etc., Dr HIREN GOHAIN, Nijarapar Road, Guwahati.

Bravo Team India!

Sir, – This has a reference to the news item ‘Vihari, Ashwin pull off memorable draw’ (AT, January 12). It was a drawn match on record, but surely it will go down into the history of Test matches played over the years as one of the rarest examples of the glory of the largely diminishing art of Test cricket, displayed by Team India in the third Test of the four-match series against Australia on their home turf in Sydney recently. Facing a challenging score of 407 to win the match, India at one stage looked very much on course to snatching a blasting victory, braving a very hostile Australian bowling battery, till Rishabh Pant was there at the crease giving solemn company to a rock solid batting feat of Cheteshwar Pujara. But the win was not to be there ultimately. Even then snatching a draw was not less commendable anyway than a win, considering the heroic fightback reared by Team India.

When the attraction and demand of T20 matches are high nowadays, the Test match as the one in Sydney shows the true character of cricket at its best. Yours etc., ASHOKE DATTA, Tezpur.

Biased media

Sir, – After reading Patricia Mukhim’s column ‘Media at war with itself’ (AT, January 16), it really pains me that the media which has a ‘direct’ link with the common public is being used in such biased ways by the people in power. She has rightly pointed out that the views of the influential people in the media are skewed towards religion and religious beliefs. So much space is wasted trying to promote a particular religion whereas the other religions are not given the space they deserve. I sincerely hope this is only a phase that the media is passing through. Being a common man, my only access to the powers that be is through the media. I can only pray that the media finds its spine and brings out facts instead of twisting facts to satisfy a certain audience. Yours etc., TIKENDRAJIT DAS, Guwahati.

Road projects

Sir, – The Centre has expressed unhappiness over the slow pace of road projects in the NE as reported in your esteemed daily. One of the most important roads, i.e., from Nagaon to Kaliabor, has remained incomplete for almost a decade now. This stretch of road is very important as it connects lower Assam and upper Assam and the tourists visiting Kaziranga have to take this road. But, surprisingly, no one is bothered to highlight it effectively. I urge Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Surface Transport, to take up the matter seriously. The State Government must put pressure on the NHA. Our Members of Parliament should also raise this issue. Yours etc., DIPAK DAS, Jurpukhuri, Guwahati.