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Mahatma Gandhi and V D Savarkar - Ideological Comparison

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October 18, 2021

What is the issue?

The 1911 to 1947 paradigm of the Indian freedom struggle was primarily dominated by two individuals - Mahatma Gandhi and V D Savarkar (Veer - the braveheart). Here is an overview of their ideologies.

What is the ideological significance of the freedom struggle?

  • Besides achieving independence, the freedom struggle also involved nurturing the ideas and values for nation-building.
  • The Indian freedom struggle too consisted of different ideologies encompassing the right, left and centre.
  • It was indeed a broad socio-economic, cultural movement with the participation of reformists, revolutionaries, constitutionalists, loyalists, progressives and even regressives.
  • Besides the Gandhian stream of nation-making, the other parallel but equally forceful stream was the stream of revolutionaries.


What were the key contributions of Gandhi?

  • “Fathered” many of the ideas that are the guiding principles for present-day Bharat.
  • Made the freedom struggle a true “national” struggle.
  • Promoted the idea of equality.
  • Gave non-violence as a method to achieve independence by changing the heart of the oppressor.

What were the other key ideas of Savarkar?

  • He evolved an enlightened view of Hinduism - Creating a strong national character by nurturing the individual with the cultural and ideological roots of Hindu culture.
  • For his strong ideas and valour, Savarkar was charged with sedition, extradited and sentenced to transportation for two life terms, amounting to a 50-year sentence.
  • After he was released with conditional confinement from the jail, Savarkar was engaged in a massive social reform project in Ratnagiri.
  • He worked to uproot the caste system, advocated inter-caste dining, inter-caste and inter-regional marriages, widow remarriage, female education and temple entry for all castes.
  • Savarkar was totally against the idea of the bifurcation of India. He hailed the glorious past and culture of India to borrow strength from it.


Source: The Indian Express

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