Fact Check: Did Gandhi Asked Savarkar to File Mercy Petitions

At a glance
  • Claim:  Gandhi asked Veer Savarkar to file a mercy petition as claimed by Rajnath Singh
  • Rating: True
  • The facts: based on the number of Conversations between Gandhi and the brother of Veer Savarkar, it can be deduced that Gandhi indeed had a soft corner for Sarvarkar and asked Sarvarkar to file for a mercy petition.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook post has been widely talked about and shared on social media.

Viral claims on Social Media: Lies were spread about Savarkar. Time and again, it was said he filed mercy petitions before the British government seeking his release from jail. It was Mahatma Gandhi who asked him to file mercy petitions": Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the launch of a book on Savarkar

What Rajnath Singh said

"He was an icon of Indian history and will remain so. There can be a difference of opinion about him, but to look down on him as inferior is not appropriate and justifiable. He was a freedom fighter and a staunch nationalist, but people who follow the Marxist and Leninist ideology are the ones who accuse Savarkar of being a fascist...Lies are spread about Savarkar repeatedly. It was spread that he filed many mercy petitions seeking his release from jails... It was Mahatma Gandhi who asked him to file the mercy petitions..." the defence minister said.

News Verification: Many historians have already claimed that the fact is true, it was on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, he advised his brother Savarkar to file a petition & even made a case for his release through an essay in Young India 26 May 1920. 

Dr. Vikram a historian tweeted that, “Some needless brouhaha abt statement by @rajnathsingh In my Vol 1 & in countless interviews I had stated already that in 1920 Gandhiji advised Savarkar brothers to file a petition & even made a case for his release through an essay in Young India 26 May 1920. So what's noise abt?”

Jairam Ramesh a congress leader tweeted, “Rajnath Singh-ji is amongst the few sober & dignified voices in Modi Sarkar. But he doesn't seem to be free of the RSS habit of rewriting history. He has given a twist to what Gandhi actually wrote on Jan 25 1920. Here is that letter to Savarkar’s brother.”


There are many conversions of Gandhi with the brothers of Savarkar


In one of the letters he wrote, “It is clear therefore that all the offences

charged against Mr Savarkar (senior) were of a public nature. He

had done no violence.”


In one of the letters written to N. D Savarkar, Gandhi wrote from Lahore on January 25, 1920, “LAHORE,

January 25, 1920


I have your letter. 1

It is difficult to advise you. I suggest,

however, your framing a brief petition setting forth the facts of the

case bringing out in clear relief the fact that the offence committed by

your brother was purely political. I suggest this in order that it would

be possible to concentrate public attention on the case. Meanwhile as I

have said to you in an earlier letter2

 I am moving in the matter in my

own way.”


Article Sources +

Gandhi Literature: Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi


About The Author

Ashwin Roy is an Indian fact-checker and news writer, writing news for Ayupp since 2014.

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