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H. V. Sheshadri (Kannada: ಹೊ ವೆ ಶೇಷಾದ್ರಿ, Hindi: हो वे शेषाद्री, Birth: 1926 - Death: 2005) was an Indian author and a social activist. He was one of the most important leaders of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and devoted his entire life for promoting the Hindu cause.
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The Tragic Story of Partition (1982)
- In the [past] one thousand years many parts of our country had been ruled by the Muslims and then by the British, but the nation had never compromised, in principle, its sovereignty over any part of the motherland. As a result, our nation had never ceased to strive for throwing out the aggressors and liberate those parts. And history tells us that ultimately it did succeed in freeing the entire land from the clutches of foreign invaders. However, for the first time, Partition conceded the moral and legal right to them over certain parts of the country and declared an ignominious finale to the one thousand years old heroic struggle for freedom. Thus it was an act of humiliating surrender on the point of principle. The usual interpretation of Partition, however, does not utter a word about this aspect. Even while conceding Partition to be a tragedy, it is sought to be made out as the only practical way out then available - as the inevitable price for achieving freedom.
- “Under Macaulay’s dispensation our history opened with the chapter – ‘The Dark Age’ - which was, in fact, a period of Bharat’s unparalleled achievements in material as well as spiritual fields. Then followed the periods - Hindu, Muslim and British. The intent behind this kind of classification was obvious. The land belonged to those who for that period held the sceptre at Delhi. There were none who could he called the original children of this land, its natural masters. He who wielded the rod – to him the country belonged.”
- p. 16
- Indeed how many were the seers and sages, poets and prophets - right from the Vedic age upto the modern times - who had fostered in the nation's breast the integrated and whole picture of Bharat as the Divine Mother. Bharat, in their eyes, was not a mere clod of clay. It was verily the Matrubhoomi, the Punyabhoomi, the Dharmabhoomi, the Devabhoomi, the Karmabhoomi - all sublimated into one single majestic figure of Bharat Mata. To Bankimchandra, She appeared as the triple manifestation of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga. Rabindranath Tagore visualised Her as Devi bhuvana-mana-mohini - the divine enchantress of the world. To Swami Vivekananda, She was the Mother of all the thirty-three crores of gods and goddesses - whose worship would gratify all those myriad deities. Guruji Golwalkar visualised Her as Trinity of Mata - the loving mother, Pita - the protecting father, and Guru - the elevating spiritual guide. The unity of Bharat is so basic to its nature, so sublime in its depths - in fact, an inseparable aspect of its national soul.
- For 800 years Hindusthan waged a relentless freedom struggle - probably the most stirring saga of crusade for national freedom witnessed anywhere on the face of this earth. From Maharana Kumbha to Maharana Pratap Simha and Rajasimha in Rajasthan, from Hakka and Bukka to Krishnadevaraya in the South, from Chhatrapati Shivaji to the Peshwas in Maharashtra, from the various martyr Gurus of the Sikhs including Guru Govind Singh to Banda Bairagi and Ranjit Singh in the Punjab, from Chhatrasal in Bundelkhand to Lachit Barphukan in Assam, countless captains of the war of independence piloted the ship of freedom and steered her through perilous tides and tempests. As a result of their ceaseless and crushing blows, the conquering, sword of Islam lay in dust, shattered to pieces.
- The Congress, befitting its name of Indian National Congress, had declared itself a representative body of all groups, religious or otherwise, in the country. It was, therefore, its pre-eminent duty to stand steadfast by its commitment to the interests and integrity of the nation as a whole and never succumb to the pressure tactics of any particular section of whatever denomination. However, to the nation's misfortune, the Congress was trapped in the coils of the theories of "composite nation" and "composite culture" and infected with an inferiority complex that unless all communities came to its platform it could not become a national organization. It became nervous at the prospect of being dubbed "communal" if Hindus alone participated in its activities.
- Numbers are not the supreme truth in the world. In freedom's battle in any country, do all the people of that country take part? When the Americans fought for their freedom, more than half the people of that country were with the British. In the Irish freedom struggle, how many were actually involved in it? Right or wrong is not decided by the counting of heads. It is decided by the intensity of tapasya or the single-minded devotion to the cause. The problem before the Hindus is not to devise ways and means of bringing about an artificial unity. The problem before them in how to organise themselves.
- Sri Seshadri has cited the advice which Sarat Chandra Chatterjee had tendered to his people. He had written as follows in October, 1926: “Hindustan is the land of the Hindus. It is, therefore, the duty of the Hindus alone to liberate it from the shackles of foreign domination. Muslims are sitting with their faces turned towards Arabia or Turkey. Their heart is not in the land of Hindustan. But when it is not there, it is no use lamenting over it. We need not be unnerved by counting the heads of Muslims. Numbers are not the supreme truth in the world… In freedom’s battle in any country, do all the people of that country take part? When the Americans fought for their freedom, more than half the people of that country were with the British. In the Irish freedom struggle, how many were actually involved in it?… Right or wrong is not decided by the counting of heads. It is decided by the intensity of tapasya or the single-minded devotion to the cause. The problem before the Hindus is not to devise ways and means of bringing about an artificial unity. The problem before them in how to organise themselves.”
- Sarat Chandra Chatterjee cited by H.V. Sheshadri, quoted from S.R. Goel, Muslim Separatism - Causes and Consequences Ch.12
Quotes about H.V. Sheshadri
- It is in this stale atmosphere of sterile scholarship and sloganized politics that the book by Shri H.V. Seshadri has come like a breath of fresh breeze. The Tragic Story of Partition is not only the latest but also the best study of this subject made so far. It gives us all the facts included in the earlier studies. It also takes into account many known but neglected facts. But what distinguishes it from all other studies, is its deeper probe and wider perspective in the interpretation of all facts and episodes.
This remarkable book has many facets, rich in ideological implications of a far-reaching import. We will take up those facets one by one in the chapters that follow. To start with, we want to take up what we consider to be its most important contribution, namely, the unravelling of two behaviour patterns - Muslim and National - which collaborated closely for years and precipitated Partition in the final round. The Muslim behaviour pattern was characterized by acrimony, accusations, complaints, demands, denunciations, and street riots. The National behaviour pattern, on the other hand, was characterized by acquiescence, assent, cajolery, concessions, cowardice, self-reproach, and surrender.
The two behaviour patterns have remained intact and are still operative. That is why the Partition in 1947 cannot and should not be considered a closed chapter. Moreover, the two behaviour patterns provide the key not only to a correct understanding of the complexities of present-day politics in India, but also to an anticipation of political developments in days to come.
- S.R. Goel, Muslim Separatism - Causes and Consequences
- The book is The Tragedy of Partition by one of the longest-serving and most revered pillars of the RSS, H.V. Seshadri. It is the standard text of the RSS on the Partition. It is sold at every RSS bookshop, and read, its message is internalised, by every RSS swayam sevak.
- Arun Shourie, A few extracts from the book, Aug 2009,