BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis argued on Saturday on behalf of freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar “absent” from the annual Marathi literary meeting in Nashik. The late ideologue Hindutva was born in Bhagur near Nashik in 1883.
There was a demand from some circles that a pandal at Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan – which is held in Bhujbal Knowledge City – be named after Savarkar. Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal is involved in organizing this year’s meeting.
However, the place was named “Kusumagraj Nagari” in honor of the Jnanpith Prize-winning Marathi poet, the late VV Shirwadkar. He wrote poetry under the pseudonym Kusumagraj.
Speaking to the media in Nashik, Fadnavis said Savarkar chaired both the Marathi Literary Meeting and the Marathi Theater Conference, and had also served as president of Marathi Patrakar Sangh, a journalists’ union. “The organizers insulted him and his supporters,” he added.
“We see Savarkar as our idol. He was a great freedom fighter and was imprisoned in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He was a great poet, game changer, grammar scholar and historian.
Arguing that the BJP was not against Kusumagraj, Fadnavis said, “We have great reverence for Kusumagraj. But the name of Kusumagraj was chosen because they didn’t want Savarkar. By doing this, they have undermined both Savarkar and Kusumagraj. “
“Savarkar is an idol for us and if our idols are not respected, why should we even bother to go… We have decided not to attend the literary festival,” he added.