Reflecting back on the past few lectures that I have attended conducted by Chaturvedi, he has focused a lot on the ideas of Savarkar and Gandhi. At the beginning, he introduced the novel written by Gandhi which he titled Hind Swaraj, Or Indian Home Rule and focused on the idea of self-government and self-rule. More importantly, Gandhi focused on Swaraj which translates to “self-country” and swadeshi which translates to “self-country”. On the other hand, Savarkar advocated for Swaraj as well, however, he also focused on Swadharma which translates to “self-religion”. In his lecture, Chaturvedi made many compelling points and differences between these two men and the ideas they advocated for.
When Gandhi wrote his book on the Hind Swaraj, he had several things that he wanted to focus on. One of the main ideas that he advocated for was the belief that anyone can be violent, but sacrificing yourself for what you believe in is a much higher success. To elaborate, he thinks that any kind of person can be violent or kill to get what they want, but that it takes a courageous and heroic person to be able to give up your own desires to help other. To a certain extent, I think that he has a good idea going for him; however, today’s society might have him questioning how intense this sacrifice should be. For example, is a person going to sacrifice themselves for another person in terms of money? A psychological study tests subjects to see if they would help someone in need even if no one else around them. Although many responded “of course” when asked if they would come to the aid of a stranger in trouble, when faced with the situation, most of the time the members of the group did nothing to help. This idea, known as the Bystander Effect, shows how unlikely humans are to reach out and help others in times of need. Looking back at Gandhi’s ideas, I think that he has a very positive outlook on the human race, which is a good thing, but he could get easily disappointed. Along with his faith in humanity, Gandhi also advocated for non-violence which is an act that the world has not yet to accomplish, which further develops my argument that the human population would probably disappoint Gandhi.
Taking a different look at the ideas of Swaraj, Savarkar takes a different route to bring his readers to the important topics that he wanted to express. Although Gandhi tended to believe in reacting to situations with non-violence, Savarkar advocated for violence because he felt it was a practical way of getting what you want. Furthermore, he was one of the main figures in The Indian War of Independence in 1857. While the name calls it a “war of independence”, the British had originally referred to it as a mutiny and this idea was written about extensively during 1857. At this time, soldiers had decided that they did not want to be identified as soldiers anymore and that they want to be known as the people that they are. So, they stripped themselves of their war gear and and changed into the clothing of peasants which is what they were before joining the military. Other factors played into the start of this war including an economic crisis, violation of common rights, and small revolts. One of Savarkar’s arguments revolved around how the British responded to these smaller uprising and whether their responses of violence was the best way to get the war closer to ending. Based on several events in our history, violence has only caused more problems than solved them. I feel that when Savarkar views the violence of the peasants, he believes this to be ethically correct action because they are fighting for basic rights. However, the British government is using their assertion of power to hurt and oppress the peasants even more than before.
As seen, Savarkar and Gandhi may have some different approaches to how they handle the oppression of peasants, however, they both ultimately want the same result of equality. These revolutionary ideals may be part of the reason that both of their writings were banned in the British government. This further develops the idea that they had different approaches, but desired the same results.