Vinayak Savarkar, a Maharashtrian brahmin, was born in year 1883. He went to England to study law. There he got involved in patriotic activities, his admirer Mandanlal Dhingra shot dead a British official, he closely worked with Madam Bhikaji Cama. When he was arrested by British police, he made bold attempt to escape from ship SS Morea through one of its portholes but was rearrested.
He was then sent to Cellular Jail in Andamans. Treatment given to prisoners was terrible, many committed suicide. Savarkar tried to maintain his sanity by writing poems.
Savarkar did not wish to rot in prison, so he decided to send mercy petitions to government to release him. He was released from prison on condition that he will keep away from politics.
“Strange as it may seem, Mr. Savarkar and Mr. Jinnah instead of being opposed to each other on the two nations issue, are in complete agreement about it”
Savarkar got drawn towards Hinduism. He was soon recognised as Hindu leader (though he was an atheist) and became head of Hindu Mahasabha. He was also a master politician and social reformer. He did not hesitate to form governments with Muslim leaders in Bengal, Sindh and NWFP.
He helped Bengal leader AK Fazlul Haq also known as Sher e Bangla to form government in Bengal, when Congress refused to support him. Hindu Mahasabha leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was part of government. S P Mukherjee became minister for industry in independent India.
After fall of government of Allah Bux Soomro in Sindh (in which Congress actively participated), a government was formed with support of League and Hindu Mahasabha under Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah.
In NWFP during regimes of Khan brothers and Aurangzeb Khan, the Mahasabha member Mehr Chand Khanna was minister. Mehr Chand Khanna later became housing minister in independent India.
Politics of pre-independence India was mix of national level parties like Congress and Muslim League and powerful regional parties like Krishak Praja Party of Fazlul Haq, Unionist Party of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, Justice party of intermediate castes of South India etc. Hindu Mahasabha and Communists too had their pockets of influence.
“I am Punjabi first then a Muslim”
-Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan
It is difficult to define what is patriotism ex. Quit India was launched by Congress, but League, Mahasahbha and Communists opposed it as it was seen as Congress show with no benefit to them. Each leader from Gandhi to Nehru to Jinnah to Ambedkar had his point of view on Indian polity.
Labels like “nationalist”, “secular”, “communalist” are invention of Congress/left dominated historians to support continuation of Congress Party rule in India.
After independence, Congress party ruled India for many years. Gradually freedom fighters were classified into secular nationalist and communalist. Those who sided with Nehru were secular and leftists, those who opposed him were labelled as rightists and communalists ex. those against Quit India were labelled as anti-national (not anti-Congress)
Post-independence communists decided to support Nehru, so job of writing history of India was given to leftist historian Prof Saiyad Nurul Hassan. What leftists wrote became standard history of India. History of Congress was history of India. Subtle became blatant when it was declared that Indira was India. Congress become certifying body for patriotism. Diversity of Indian political views were curbed. Regional dynamics were forgotten. Savarkar was reduced to Mahasabha leader who was involved in assassination of Gandhi (not proved in court)
There is a need to write history based on facts not on ideology of political party. It will help if a panel of historians from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh write history of India together.