Shah credits Savarkar for recognising 1857 mutiny as first freedom struggle

rewrite India's history, Amit Shah, Bharat Ratna, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, revolt, First War of Independence, British point of view, Banaras Hindu University, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Skandagupta, Chandragupta, PM Modi
Union home minister Amit Shah addressed a group of scholars and historians during the inauguration of an international seminar on 'Guptvanshak-Veer: Skandgupta Vikramaditya' at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Photo: PTI.

The First War of Independence in 1857 would have been considered a revolt had it not been for Veer Savarkar, Union home minister Amit Shah said here on Thursday (October 17).

Shah stressed on the need to rewrite history from India’s point of view and credited Savarkar for calling the 1857 rebellion as India’s first independence struggle.

A huge row ensued after the BJP suggested that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar be given the Bharat Ratna. Shah responded that if it wasn’t for Savarkar, the war of independence in 1857 would have become history and India would have seen it from the British point of view.

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His remarks came two days after the Maharashtra BJP unit said in its election manifesto that the party would ask the Centre to confer the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar.

“Had it not been Veer Savarkar, the 1857 kranti (revolt) would not have become history and we would have been seeing it from the British point of view,” the home minister said. “It was Savarkar who gave the name First War of Independence to the 1857 kranti, otherwise, our children would have known it as a revolt,” he said.

Also read: Maharashtra unit of BJP proposes Bharat Ratna for Savarkar

He had made these comments during the inauguration of a two-day international seminar here on ‘Guptvanshak-Veer: Skandgupta Vikramaditya’ at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). A large number of historians, scholars and political thinkers from India and abroad attended the seminar.

Referring to eminent historians in the audience and on the dais, he said, “It is my request to all that there is a need to rewrite the Indian history from India’s point of view, but without blaming anyone.”

“It is our responsibility to write our history. How long are we going to blame the British? We don’t have to have any dispute with anyone, only write what is truth and it will stand the test of time,” the Union home minister said.

The Gupta period is called the golden period of Indian history and Skandagupta is known for fighting against Hunas.

Shah also praised Madan Mohan Malaviya for founding a university where “Hindu dharma and sanskriti” were propagated even after so many years. He said that Skandagupta Vikramaditya needed to be brought to the top of our history as he fought and won the war which even Rome lost against the alien enemy.

Also read: The real Savarkar: A British stooge, Hitler’s admirer or a Bharat Ratna?

He re-formulated the revenue collection method, administration and municipality, Shah said, adding that it was believed that the Gupta ruler stayed at Ghazipur in this Poorvanchal region and worked from here, he said.

He urged the historians to write more about rulers like Skandagupta and Chandragupta, who had been not been given “enough due in the existing documented history.”

Shah, who released a book based on the life of Skandagupta, regretted that the today’s generation was “not aware” of the contribution and valour of Skandagupta because of lack of documentation.

He said that the Indian boundary extended up to Afghanistan during the reign of Skandagupta and this was the golden era in terms of art. “Literature, military, culture and art were world-class and we should acknowledge it. The country got best astrologers during this period and India was freed of invaders from Kashmir to Kandahar. We need to establish the contribution of Skandagupta to our history,” he said.

He also spoke on the political future of the nation and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making India “regain” its respect in the world. “Respect for the country has increased under him. The world pays attention to our point of view. The world listens when our PM speaks on international developments,” Shah said.

Also read: Savarkar’s Hindutva values are basis for nation-building, says Modi

He remembered Madan Mohan Malviya and thanked him for setting up the BHU. “Whatever might have been on the mind of Madan Mohan Malviyaji at the time of the establishment of the BHU, this university had played a key role in propagating the Hindu culture and has stood tall to protect it,” Shah said.

After hundreds of years of slavery, it was very difficult for any person to reinstate the pride, only a university could do this, he said. “These universities were the reason why we were happy with the present day image of the country and were assured of its future too,” Shah said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey were also present on the occasion. In his address, the chief minister referred to the revocation of provisions of Article 370 and termed it a historical and brave step.

“It was invoked following the stubbornness of Nehru while Sardar Patel was unhappy with it,” he said, adding that Patel had then stated that only the one who had a firm resolve would be able to scrap it.

Pandey said that it was the vision of Madan Mohan Malaviya that a university like the BHU was established. He also said that the country was proud of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah.

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