VD Savarkar, the Urdu Poet: Why the Hindutva Proponents Never Talk About It

While RSS has propagated that Urdu is anti-Hindu, they never share that Savarkar was himself an Urdu poet.

4 min read
Hindi Female

Remember this incident capturing India's TV-news watching population's imagination?

“What are you trying to hide by writing in Urdu?” yelled a Sudarshan News reporter at a Haldiram Store Manager sometime back, again bringing Urdu under the burning flame of controversies. “Aisa kya jhoot parosna chaahte ho ya chipaana chaahte ho jo aapne ye urdu mein likha hai?” (what lie are you trying to serve or hide by writing this in Urdu?) was the reporter’s question after seeing packets of Haldiram products with information printed in Arabic along with English on the other side.

Urdu, in recent years, has been seen as a mysterious ‘code language’ used to hide things from the Hindu majority, and in furthering this portrayal, followers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh haven’t left any stones unturned.


Why Has the Sangh Stayed Silent on Savarkar's Urdu Poetry?

However, most importantly, while the Sangh has always propagated that Urdu is anti-Hindu, they never said that their Hindutva poster boy, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was himself an Urdu poet, and has composed a number of ghazals in Urdu and in his own handwriting.

Khushi ke daur daure se hai yaan ranj-o-mehan pahle

Bahaar aati hai peeche aur khezaan gird-e-chaman pahle

(Before the arrival of happiness, there exists grief and sorrow,

Here arrives the spring but the garden is already in the autumn’s garb)

Abhi meraj ka kya zikr ye pahli hi manzil hai

Hazaaron manzilein karni hain tay hamko kathin pahle

(What to speak about the destination as it is just the beginning,

A lot of difficult situations are yet to be faced)

The term ‘Meraj’ refers to the divine union of Prophet Muhammad and God, and hence is used as a metaphor for the final destination.

Historically, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its followers have lied about many things in order to sow the seeds of hatred against Indian Muslims. Urdu being an easy target has always been at the top of their hit list.

When regular efforts are being made to deify Savarkar, to the limit that his biographical sketch in the form of a movie is yet to hit the silver screen, there hasn’t been a single mention of him being an Urdu poet, or just the fact that he, too, wrote in the Urdu script.


BJP-RSS Attempts to Project Urdu as Invaders' Language

From renaming the Mughal Sarai Junction to Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay Railway Station to Allahabad turning into Prayagraj, there have been constant efforts towards criminalising Urdu and painting it as a language of ‘invaders’. Amit Shah, the Chairperson of the Official Language Committee and the Union Minister of Home Affairs, gave a call for the imposition of Hindi throughout the country, adding fuel to the fire.

The ceaseless propaganda by the RSS paints Urdu as a Muslim language with no connections to the Hindus of India. But in doing this, numerous Hindu Poets who wrote in Urdu have been ignored. Here is a representative list:

  • Pandit Chandra Bhan ‘Brahman’, born in 1574 AD, who was one of the very first Urdu poets

  • Pandit Brij Narayan ‘Chakbast’, who composed Ramayana in the form of an Urdu nazm

  • Maharaja Ram Narayan ‘Mauzun’ Azeemabadi who is believed to be the first poet to compose a patriotic couplet in the history of Urdu literature

  • Lala Madhav Ram ‘Jauhar’, who is regarded as one of the most important poets in the court of Emperor Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’


Urdu, a Gateway to India's Multicultural Past and Present

Urdu has historically been a language endorsed and spoken by both Hindus and Muslims. It emerged as an image of India’s multicultural past. From Khuda-e-Sukhan Meer Taqi Meer’s famous couplet :

Meer ke deen-o-mazhab ko tum poochte kya ho unne to

Qashqa khaincha, dair mein baetha, kab ka tark islaam kiya

(What can I tell you about Meer’s faith and belief?

A tilak on his forehead, in a temple he resides, having abandoned Islam a long ago.)

Or, Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s nazm ‘Ram’ in his book Bang-e-Dara, where the last two couplets are :

Hai ram ke wajood pe Hindustan ko naaz

Ahl-e-nazar samajhte hain usko imam-e-hind

(Hindustan is proud of the existence of Lord Rama,

Those who see, are seen considering him as the prelate of India)

Ejaz us charaagh-e-hedayat ka hai yahi

Raushan-tar az sahar hai zamaane mein shaam-e-hind

(This alone is the miracle of this light of righteousness,

That brighter than world’s morning is the evening of Hindustaan)


Urdu and the Muslims' Love for Mathura and Shri Krishna

Shri Krishna, too, in a very small span of time, became an integral part of Urdu Sufi poetry. For instance, Insha Allah Khan Insha’s famous couplet :

Saanvle tan pe ghazab dhaj hai basanti shaal ki

Jee mein hai kah baethiye ab jai kanhaiya lal ki

(The yellow shawl wrapped around the sultry appearance,

Compels my heart to chant hails of Lord Kanhaiya)

Maulana Hasrat Mohani, a practising Muslim, called himself a devotee of Krishna, and wrote:

Paegham-e-hayaat-e-javedaan tha

Har naghma-e-krishn bansuri ka

(The hymn of Krishna’s flute was indeed,

A message of eternal love)

(Ali Fraz Rezvi is a theatre artist and a student of Social Work at the University of Delhi. This is an opinion article and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  RSS    Urdu   Urdu Poet 

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