New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday that it was the armed revolutions against the British in India that formed the foundation for the success of the non-violent movement led by the Congress.
He added that despite igniting the flame of patriotism in the hearts of millions of Indians and leading them to join the Independence struggle, the armed revolution and their activists never got due importance in the history of India’s freedom struggle.
The home minister was speaking at the launch of the book, Revolutionaries — The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom, by Sanjeev Sanyal, economist and member of Prime Minister’s economic advisory council.
“Had there been no parallel stream of armed movement flowing, attaining Independence would have taken a few decades’ more time,” Shah said.
“It is true that the non-violence movement against the British had its own significance and contribution in making India free. But to mean that the armed revolution was insignificant; to prove the importance non-violent movement by parading the armed revolution as sporadic, disorganised and individual struggles, is not correct,” he added.
Shah said that the armed revolution for India’s Independence was not done justice in the way history was written and, on an emotional note, said: “people who had the responsibility of telling the complete story of India’s independence movement and from an Indian perspective did not do their job well.”
“They don’t know that the day Bhagat Singh was executed, every family from Lahore to Kanyakumari was so choked with grief that they could not have their meal,” Shah said, adding “this ignited the flame of patriotism in every Indians’ heart and none can deny that it galvanised the freedom struggle.”
“Just because Bhagat Singh’s supreme sacrifice did not lead to independence immediately does not make his sacrifice less important. It is true not only of Bhagat Singh but also about the entire stream of armed revolution,” he added.
He also asked whether the consciousness evoked by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s poem Vande Mataram and Gadar Party’s movement were not important.
Taking aim at Congress, without naming the rival political party, Shah said: “I am in the field of politics so I do not want delve further here on this issue because it might lead to politicisation, but it is true that these revolutionaries never got adequate space in our history”.
Congress, Shah added, came up with the demand of Purna Swaraj only in 1930.
Without taking any names, Shah took a swipe at the Left liberal and Communist historians by using terms such as Angrez and Angreziat. “This history is written from the perspective of Angreziat after the Angrez left India.”
The home minister noted that Sanyal’s book focuses on lesser known streams of India’s freedom struggle and breaks the fetters of a popular belief that, he said, has been planted in public psyche by repeatedly hammering them through education, legends and historical writing.
“If we analyse the history of India’s independence struggle, we find that varied individuals, organisations, thoughts, ideologies and paths aimed at attaining the same goal. Freedom at last was the outcome of their collective efforts,” he added.
“Pride in the heritage and freedom from the symbols of slavery- are two significant parts of the Panch Prans mentioned by the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). Citizens who do not feel proud of their heritage cannot make a great nation. And the people who carry traditions, beliefs and thoughts that were imbibed during the period of slavery cannot liberate the thought process nation from the fetters of slavery,” he added, appealing to historians and students of history to write “correct and glorious history of India’s independence struggle” by identifying 300 personalities and 30 great empires other than the Mughals who ruled for more than 200 years.
Sanyal’s book looks at the life of nationalist leader Veer Savarkar, spiritual leader Sri Auribindo, who dreamed of making India Viswaguru, the Gadar Movement, cellular jail of Andamans, Hindustan Republic Association, Chittagong arms raid, and the valorous exploits of Netaji, Shah noted.