It has now become a truism of modern secular historiography on India that there was an ‘early’ Savarkar and a ‘late’ Savarkar (much in the same way as intellectuals refer to early and late Marx!), and that the early Savarkar was secular, humanist, and a nationalist revolutionary who, only in his later years became the theoretician of Hindutva. His nationalist, secular credentials are based on his activities in Europe and his escape from a ship mid-sea, and more and more frequently now on his book, First War of National Independence, 1857’, written by him in 1907. That we happen to be celebrating the 150th anniversary of 1857 will doubtless add to Savarkar’s glory, particularly as it is easy to prove that the Indian National Congress to begin with, did not uphold 1857.
Author: Nalini Taneja
Nalini Taneja taught history in Delhi University and is a publisher of Three Essays Collective