Press Handout

When Basudev Acharya, Dy Leader of the CPI(M) in the Lok Sabha, raised the issue opposing the naming of Port Blair Airport as V. D Sarvarkar Airport the BJP created a furore.

It was his contention that V. D Sarvarkar could not be compared with Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and other freedom fighters. And he was right.

V. D Sarvarkar filed a mercy petition while in the Cellular Jail. The petition dated 14th November 1913 stated:

"In the end may I remind your honour to be so good as to go through the petition for clemency, that I had sent in 1911, and to sanction it for being forwarded to the Indian Government? …… Therefore if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress….. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would. By keeping me in jail nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government?"

Historically it is indeed true that V. D Sarvarkar was in jail. It is equally true that he sought clemency from the British government, subsequently. These are historical facts. They are mentioned in the "History of the Penal Settlement by none other than the nationalist historian R.C Majumdar.

As far as the charges hurled by the BJP MPs at Basudev Acharya that the Communists had played no role in the freedom struggle, the truth to the contrary is that the mentors of the BJP, the RSS, which existed from 1925, played no role in the anti-imperialist struggle.

Take the case of the prisoners of the cellular jail in Andaman. Scores of revolutionaries who became respected communist leaders and activists such as Harekrishna Konar who became one of the topmost leaders of the CPI(M), Satish Pakrashi, Ganesh Ghosh, Subodh Roy, Loknath Bali, Ananta Singh, Subodh Chowdhury, Phani Nandi, Haripada Bhattacharya, Ranadhir Das Gupta, Ananda Gupta and many other spent years in the Cellular Jail.

Can the BJP RSS combine inform the people as to how many of their leaders were lodged in the Andaman Cellular Jail ?