There’s a war of words going on in between BJP and Congress over a info-graphic that Congress had shared through its social media accounts in which they compared Bhagat Singh’s petition to the British against Savarkar’s mercy petition to the British and labeled Bhagat Singh as a martyr and Savarkar as a traitor. The info-graphic in question is as follows:
This didn’t go down well with BJP and RSS as VD Savarkar is one of their leading icons. Besides sparring over this issue on TV debates, BJP Social Media also tweeted an info-graphic of its own in which they quoted Gandhiji lauding VD Savarkar. The info-graphic that BJP tweeted is as follows:
I’m reproducing the quote in textual format here.
He is clever. He is brave, He is a patriot. The evil, in its hidden form of the present system of Government, he saw much earlier than I did. He is in the Andamans for having loved India too well. Under a just government he would be occupying a high post.
The source of the aforementioned quote according to BJP’s infographic is “Young India, June 18, 1921”. Young India was a weekly journal in English published by Gandhiji from 1919 to 1932.
The laudatory nature of the quote made me doubt its authenticity and I decided to investigate. I first googled the quote and Google showed exactly 2 search results, and that too from RSS/Hindutva propaganda sites.
The fact that there were only 2 search results and that too from RSS/Hindutva propaganda sites set off all kinds of alarm bells in my head. To investigate further, I tried looking up archives of Young India and found them on the Gandhi Heritage Portal. The portal has dropdown menus to browse through various archives. I navigated my way to the June 1921 archives, and lo and behold, there was no issue of Young India for June 18, 1921 as referenced in BJP’s info-graphic! Young India, being a weekly journal, had 5 editions in June 1921 dated 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th. None for June 18th.
I also glanced through the June 15th and June 22nd editions of Young India but couldn’t find any references to Savarkar. Hence, the question that begs an answer is: Did BJP use a fake Gandhi quote in defence of Savarkar?