Alleging that the mainstream freedom struggle doesn’t reflect in the Gallery of Revolutionaries, being inaugurated by Prime minister Narendra Modi at Raj Bhavan here, the Congress on Tuesday said the RSS has been trying to show the history of the Independence movement through the ”rightist lens”.
In an apparent reference to Hindutva ideologue and freedom fighter V D Savarkar, whose name is being displayed at the Gallery of Revolutionaries, Sawant hoped the names of those who were sentenced in the Andaman prisons and those who did not write apologies will also be included. Many revolutionaries in Maharashtra endured the punishment of kalapani.
Terming the revolt of 1857 as a joint struggle of Hindus and Muslims, Sawant demanded the names of all the revolutionaries in the museum including Azimullah Khan of the 1857 rebellion. The struggle of farmers and workers and the Warli uprising should also get a place in the museum, he added. For many years, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been trying to downplay the importance of the non-violent struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and to show the history of the freedom movement (due to the non-participation of the Sangh) through the lens of rightist prism, Sawant alleged. “The mainstream freedom struggle does not seem to have a place in this museum. There are many martyrs in the Quit India movement of 1942. Unfortunately, Babu Genu’s name is not in the Raj Bhavan press note. Shripad Dange and other communist freedom fighters also went to jail,” Sawant said in a series of tweets. Genu, a mill worker, was crushed to death after he tried to stop the truck carrying foreign cloth during the Quit India movement. Sawant also said since the museum was built under the guidance of academician Vikram Sampath, there is a strong possibility that the ”team’s lens (view) was used”. Sampath has authored a two-set volume on Savarkar, a highly polarising figure in modern history. In 2016, the then Governor of Maharashtra, Vidyasagar Rao, had found a bunker in Raj Bhawan. It had earlier been used by Britishers as secret storage for arms and ammunition. The bunker was renovated in 2019. The gallery has been developed in the bunker as one of its kind museums to commemorate the contributions of freedom fighters and revolutionaries of Maharashtra. It offers tributes to the contributions of Vasudev Balwant Phadke, the Chaphekar brothers, the Savarkar brothers, Madam Bhikaji Cama, V B Gogate, Naval Mutiny in 1946, among others, a statement said.
This article first appeared on devdiscourse.com