Savarkar’s Dilemma of Rape as an Instrument of Revenge

Savarkar has been criticized for his ideology of rape as an instrument of revenge. This criticism is based on his book “Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History”. I tried to investigate this and understand it further. Rather than being judgemental, I will yield this more to the readers to decide on the basis of the facts presented here.

The Book

VD Savarkar’s book “Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History” is not a history book but a summarization of his understanding of the history of the Indian Subcontinent. History is more of research and requires fact, peer-reviewed content, scientific pieces of evidence, and correlation with many other pieces of related research which can corroborate the findings. There is a thin line between folklore and history. The Six Glorious Epochs described by Mr. VD Savarkar are six different periods of the history of the Indian Subcontinent starting with Alexender’s invasion and ending with the freedom from the British. They are:-

  1. Chanakya & Chandragupta (59 Pages)
  2. Yavana Destroyer — Pushyamitra (27 Pages)
  3. Vikramaditya — Shaka-Kushan Menace (24 Pages)
  4. Yashodhara — the conqueror of Huns (20 Pages)
  5. Muslim Empire (326 pages)
  6. India Freed from British Domination (20 pages)

The mere analysis of pages will indicate where his focus was more. He has given the dramatic description of events, occasionally quoting out of context some noted historians as his endorsement. He has also mentioned repeatedly that his own version of history may be different from other established bodies of knowledge which he calls common knowledge available in textbooks. As per him, such common knowledge has failed to capture the events which he considered as true. If the past can be manufactured, Savarkar will rule the roost.

Ideology of Rape

Throughout the Book, Savarkar has described how injustice was done to Hindus. I seldom see a book of history that is filled with so much hate for others. He has not hesitated to use filthy words in some places of his extraordinary history book. But for VD Savarkar, this was OK. I admit this article is about his ideology of rape and not about the book, so I will now jump to his insights on rape as an instrument of revenge.

The word rape has been mentioned twelve times in his book. The mention of rape started appearing first time with Muslims and ended with Muslims. So it is safe to assume the Huns, Mongols, Greeks, Christians and others who invaded this subcontinent did not rape anyone and were perhaps virtuous people. In the initial part, he has explained how Muslims used rape as an instrument of aggression. The first four references out of twelve were on how Muslims carried atrocities. The fifth reference was for demon king Ravana where Ravana justified Rape.

“After Ravan abducted Seeta and Shree Ramchandra marched on him, some of his well-wishers advised the demon King, just before the war, that because of his unjust act, the demon king was threatened with a terrible war and that he should send Seeta back to her husband because it was highly irreligious to kidnap her? ‘What ?’ cried the wrathful Ravan, “To abduct and rape the womenfolk of the enemy, do you call it irreligious? “ Pooh, pooh! [442–443]

Then he compares the above religious fanaticism of demon King to Muslim rulers who followed a similar principle as per him. But that does not end there. The virtue converts into vice in the subsequent sections when he gives the example of Sivaji Maharaj and Chimaji Appa, who returned the daughter-in-law of the Muslim Governor of Kalyan and the wife of the Portuguese governor of Bassein safely. Savarkar writes:-

“But is it not strange that when they did so, neither Shivaji Mahara j nor Chimaji Appa should ever remember, the atrocities and the rapes and the molestation, perpetrated by Mahmud of Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori, Alla-Uddin Khilji and others, on thousands of Hindu ladies and girls like the princesses of Dahir, Kamaldevi, the wife of Karnaraj of Karnawati and her extremely beautiful daughter, Devaldevi. Did not the plaintive screams and pitiful lamentations of the millions of molested Hindu women which reverberated throughout the length and breadth of the country, reach the ears of Shivaji Maharaj and Chimaji Appa?” [450]

After reading the above (450), I was wondering what he wanted Sivaji Maharaj and Chimanji Appa to do with the ladies in their captivity whom they returned with honor? I leave it to the imagination of the readers.

The next one is even more direct and Mr. VD Savarkar is blunt in exposing what is going on in his mind, though camouflaged in “ifs” and “buts”. This is very interesting.

“Suppose, If, from the earliest Muslim invasion of India, the Hindus also, whenever they were victors on the battlefields, had decided to pay the Muslim fair sex in the same coin or punished them in some other way, i.e., by conversion even with force, and then absorbed them in their fold, then with this horrible apprehension at their heart they would have desisted from their evil designs against any Hindu lady. If they had to take such a fright in the first two or three centuries, millions and millions of luckless Hindu ladies would have been saved all their indignities, loss of their own religion, rapes, ravages and other unimaginable persecutions” [455]

While I agree with the historical wrongs conducted by aggressors from time to time on this land, I will also agree that two wrongs don’t make a right. War can be a means of installing or preserving peace but if it is used as a means of satisfying lust, greed, hatred, fear, or revenge, the distinction between demons and humans is blurred. Maybe Hindutva ideologue Savarkar will agree to disagree with this, or maybe not. I am glad and proud that the Hindu kings were not even remotely influenced by Savarkar’s ideology.

This has been shared for research purposes and any comments, criticisms, and appreciation are welcome. I am happy to correct any factual mistake. Please feel free to like and share if enjoyed the content.

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I am a researcher, blogger, social worker, activist, and change agent who strives to create social equilibrium and harmony for sustainable development.

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DD Mishra

DD Mishra

I am a researcher, blogger, social worker, activist, and change agent who strives to create social equilibrium and harmony for sustainable development.

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