The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Mumbai has objected to the Maharashtra government’s recommendation to name the new International Students’ Hostel facility at Mumbai University after the name Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, better known as Veer Savarkar . The student organization said in a letter to the governor of Maharashtra that Savarkar “not only renounced participation in the freedom struggle”, but also “actively supported the English rulers”.
In their letter, NSUI Mumbai insisted that the hostel facility be named only after an eminent personality who has contributed to the welfare of the sorority regardless of religion, caste or creed.
The letter said: “At the time when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was setting up his Indian National Army to confront the British in India, Savarkar was helping the colonial government to recruit lakhs of Indians into its armed forces. He further destabilized the freedom movement by pushing his common ideology, which deepened the common divide at a time when a united front against colonial rule was needed.”
“Mr Savarkar is mythologized in the popular imagination as ‘Veer Savarkar’ – not only did he refrain from participating in the freedom struggle after the British released him from prison for his relentless pleas for mercy, but he also actively supported the English rulers to whom he had expressed his loyalty,” the letter added.
NUSI suggested that the new facility should be honored with the name of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj, who was “a firm believer in the statement that governance is for the good of the people.” In its letter, the student body said: “Many extraordinarily practical steps he took to improve the lot of the underprivileged and the weak included, even at that distant period, the abolition of forced labor and the provision of education and employment for the backward and depressed. classes.”
The students advocated naming the new facility after Chhatrapati Shahuji, saying, “He opened the gates of education and public office to all. In Maharashtra, he pioneered free education and set up a chain of hostels where the children of the poor would be housed for free.”
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