MP rewrites history: RSS’s Golwalker jailed in 1949 for ‘freedom struggle’

RSS ideologue M S Golwalkar spent nearly six months in Madhya Pradesh's Seoni Jail after the organisation was banned following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. An official publication of the state government now says he was jailed for being a freedom fighter.

An article in the latest issue of Madhya Pradesh Sandesh has listed Golwalkar as one of the 41 freedom fighters who were imprisoned in Seoni Jail, built in 1925-26 in the then Central Provinces and Berar, by the British. The RSS ideologue is third on the list, behind Subhash Chandra Bose and Acharya Vinoba Bhave.

The article, however, does not mention that unlike Bose and Bhave — who were in Seoni Jail between January 3, 1932 and May 30, 1932 and between April 8, 1944 and July 9, 1945, respectively — Golwalkar was not imprisoned by the British but by the government of Independent India. Guruji, as Golwalkar's followers called him, was in the jail between January 1, 1949 and June 6, 1949. In fact, he is the only prisoner who spent time in the jail after Independence while the rest — except one whose record the article said was not received — were there between 1930 and 1945.

The "distortion of history" has angered many. Congress spokesman K K Mishra said his party would lodge a case against the writer and the publication "because history has been tampered with and an attempt made to mislead the public".

"Golwalkar had nothing to do with the freedom struggle and he was jailed because the RSS was banned," Mishra said.

The author of the article, Ghanashyam Sirsam, has said he only "faithfully reproduced" the list provided to him by Superintendent of Special Child Reformatory (the jail was closed in 1956 and Jabalpur's reformatory was brought here). "I don't know what's wrong with the article," Sirsam said. It's focus, he said, was on Bose not Golwalkar.

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