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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What were the similarities and differences between the political and ideological thinking of Vir Savarkar and Gandhi Ji? (150 Words)

    18 Sep, 2023 GS Paper 1 History

    Approach:

    • Start your answer with a brief description of both personalities.
    • Discuss similarities in between them.
    • Also, discuss differences in their political and ideological thinking.
    • Summarize the key points and conclude

    Introduction:

    Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, commonly known as Veer Savarkar, and Mahatma Gandhi were two prominent figures in the Indian independence movement. They had distinct political and ideological thinking that played significant roles in shaping the course of India's struggle for freedom from British colonial rule.

    • While both were ardent nationalists who shared a common goal of liberating India, their approaches, philosophies, and tactics differed considerably.

    Body:

    Similarities between their political and ideological thinking:

    • Nationalism and Patriotism: Both Savarkar and Gandhi were passionate Indian nationalists dedicated to liberating the country from British colonialism. Savarkar's writings celebrated Indian resistance, like Gandhi's call for self-rule.
    • Cultural Pride: Both leaders took pride in India's rich cultural and historical heritage. Savarkar emphasized the need to revive and celebrate India's ancient glory, and Gandhi promoted traditional Indian handicrafts and attire, such as khadi.
    • Opposition to Untouchability: Both Savarkar and Gandhi were vocal opponents of the practice of untouchability. Savarkar advocated for social reforms and the eradication of caste-based discrimination, while Gandhi championed the cause of Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) and worked towards their upliftment.
    • Critique of Western Influence: Both leaders were critical of Western imperialism and its impact on India. Savarkar condemned British colonialism, while Gandhi's philosophy of non-cooperation and swadeshi (self-reliance) aimed to minimize Western influence in Indian life.
    • Opposition to Partition: Both Savarkar and Gandhi were against the partition of India on religious lines. Savarkar advocated for a united India, and Gandhi's efforts to prevent communal violence and promote Hindu-Muslim unity were well-known.

    Differences in their political and ideological thinking:

    Differences were not only in their methods of resistance but also in their visions for India's future.

    • Methods of Resistance:
      • Savarkar: Savarkar advocated armed resistance against British colonial rule. He believed in using force to achieve India's independence and even wrote a book titled "The First War of Indian Independence" celebrating armed uprisings against the British.
      • Gandhi: Gandhi, on the other hand, championed non-violent civil disobedience as the means to attain freedom. His philosophy of satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) emphasized moral and spiritual strength in the face of oppression.
    • Religious and Communal Harmony:
      • Savarkar: Savarkar's political thinking was more focused on Hindu nationalism and Hindutva. While he was not inherently anti-Muslim, his vision of India leaned towards the dominance of Hindu culture.
      • Gandhi: Gandhi was a strong advocate for religious and communal harmony. He worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims, emphasizing unity among all communities in India.
    • Social Reforms:
      • Savarkar: While Savarkar was critical of caste-based discrimination, his primary focus was on political freedom. His efforts were not as prominent in the realm of social reform.
      • Gandhi: Gandhi was deeply committed to social reform, particularly the eradication of untouchability and the upliftment of Dalits (formerly known as untouchables). He initiated several movements to address social injustices within Indian society.
    • Vision for Post-Independence India:
      • Savarkar: Savarkar's vision for a free India was influenced by his belief in Hindutva. He saw India as a Hindu-majority nation and envisioned a stronger emphasis on Hindu culture.
      • Gandhi: Gandhi's vision for India was inclusive and secular. He advocated for a diverse and pluralistic nation where all religions and communities coexist harmoniously, with an emphasis on moral and ethical values.

    Conclusion:

    Vir Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi were influential leaders in India's independence struggle, united by their love for the nation. Their differences exemplified the diversity of thought within the movement. Both left a lasting impact on India's history, representing distinct facets of the complex struggle for independence. Their contrasting approaches remain topics of historical discourse, underscoring the richness and diversity of India's fight for freedom.

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