Savarkar – A Poetic Genius Or A Psychotic?
By Anil Pundlik Gokhale
Response to Ashok Malik’s ‘Savarkar the man who saw tomorrow’
I happened to read with curiosity Ashok Malik's article “Savarkar - The man who saw tomorrow”. This was the occasion of 125 th birth anniversary of Savarkar, ( 5 th June 2008 ) and is an astute defense of Savarkarism and his legacy. He sees Savarkar as Indian Alexander Hamilton, the “ American nationalist, the forgotten founding father whose legacy is shaping up of the current American statehood, its policies and strategies.
Reference period of his article is 1980's in which Indian polity moved ‘irrevocably to the right'. The course of History dramatically changed during this decade. ‘ The demonized, marginalized ‘political Hindu' during his life time now stood vindicated' and “Savarkarism is more accepted than ever before”. From the date of assassination of Mrs. Gandhi, the ‘Political Hindu' under new combative organizational outfits began asserting himself and continued through Babri demolition and Gujarat holocaust. The course of events that followed shaped the Indian state, its policies and strategies. Crowning point came with unveiling of Savarkar's statue in the Parliament Central Hall in 2003 recognizing his prominent place in History and marked political triumph over cultural and political liberalism.
From dormant and insignificant presence in 1920's the “Hindu resurgence” has now acquired status of a menacing force and forms cultural bulwark around Indian State . Ashok Malik is happy that now ‘the Hindu', not as an ascetic but as combative warrior is shaping up the polity exactly as Savarkar foresaw it. What Ashok Malik conceals is the fact that with this triumph of Hindu engaged in hatred in streets has opened up ruthless avenues for capitalist expansion and provided it with new repressive biting teeth for ensuring its unbridled hegemony amidst crumbling of working class resistance and ruling liberalism.
Ashok Malik confronts and targets the Marxist historians and left liberals who have ended up by becoming Nehruvian fellow travelers and pensioners of Indian state structure. He accuses them for having suppressed, demonized and despised Savarkar in their writing of the text books and distorted history. He conveniently prefers to blink his eye towards clemency petitions Savarkar made to ensure his release and towards the political manifesto of an ideologue who rebelled against British but capitulated to the rulers under rigorous punishment, about the ‘patriot' who could not summon the mental forces against ‘those above' and instead ended up by redirecting them against ‘Mlenchaas'. For him such criticisms can be relegated as ‘prejudiced'. He and his fellow travelers have valued him for his founding intellectual tradition for Hindu Nationalism, his blazing patriotism, and most importantly, his poetry and literature.
Interestingly Ashok Malik ridicules Manishankar Aiyer for mocking up at the 10 years Savarkar spent in cellular jail but remain deeply silent on Savarkar's metamorphoses in the that ‘tiny cell' of Andaman which turned him into ‘Warrior Hindu' who ridiculed Gandhian Non Violence but eschewed any confrontation with imperial capital. I seek to search for an answer to question ‘what was the process of his becoming ‘Hindu Warrior' to articulate a coherent Fascist psychopathic ideology of hate'.
Savarkar's followers are so proud of and have always referred him as ‘Maha Kavi' (Greatest Poet). Unfortunately this remains an area in which Savarkar's political critiques have not ventured to probe. I intend to discover the ‘birth' of his ‘warrior psychology' by attempting to interpret his poetic creations in the ‘tiny cell' of his Andaman imprisonment and in specific his ‘ KAMALA ', which is considered as magnum opus, to uncover the motive forces which constituted the psychical and mental foundations of his philosophy of hatred. KAMALA is a poetic narrative drama centered on its star character ‘Kamala'. Final verses lead the readers in to dramatic episodes of brutal and barbaric splitting up of the pair of lovelom engrossed in intense romance (orgasm) and which left the charming phantasised female in dire state of anguish and insurmountable pain. Her unfulfilled erotic desires are sacrificed by male characters to perform heroic deeds of aggression against Muslims to avenge the defeat at Panipat.
Depth psychology has already substantiated that the poets create their world of phantasy and play to express the ‘pleasure or distress' once they experienced in childhood, to master unsatisfying reality. Poet is compelled by the ‘necessity' to tell others and public at large what he suffers from or what gives him happiness and pleasure. This necessity in V.D. Savarkar's life is none other than the prison's unbearable conditions and struggle to articulate what he suffered from and conceal what he compromised with authorities. As victim of nervous illness, poets are obliged to tell their phantasies to release the repressed energies and derive enjoyments. We know that the motive forces of phantasies are the ‘unfulfilled repressed wishes', which are mostly erotic in character. It is universally accepted that there is always and invariably, a ‘woman' or ‘lady' for whom heroic deeds are performed by the creators of phantasies. But the identity of the ‘lady' is concealed in the phantasy due to reasons, may be, the poet is ashamed of it's ‘direct expression' and being culturally ‘impermissible' hence the ‘desired lady appears in distorted forms. Whatever is repressed and in the state of unconscious, poets reveal it under conditions of relaxation of mental and physiological repression.
Under the spell of such conditions of relaxation of repression, the repressed wishes are allowed to come to the ‘surface' in devious form. Any work of interpretation must try rescuing these ‘desires' from their concealment and repression, in a way what pathology does it. Let us now travel through Savarkar's poetic creations in Andaman Jail.
Poetic Transition – Submerged in to world of phantasy.
Savarkar's poetic exploits can sharply be differentiated as those before and after his arrest and deportation to Andaman. The poems till 1908 represent the anguish and anger experienced by Brahmin castes after loosing political power and glory in Panipat battle. These compositions (ballads) articulate his youthful assertions to avenge the defeats. None of the poems give any indication (excluding stray poems on anguish of widows etc.) of social awareness about impact the British imperialism on classical Indian social- caste structure and changes ushered by modern capitalism. His revolt was propelled and fired by the social myths he inherited. In contrast to this, his poetic ventures in jail over a time span are characteristics of complete despair and mental regression.
Andaman poetry is remarkably ‘inward looking', or can be described as protracted articulations of ‘inner world' of ‘phantasies' and ‘dreams', which he had become so fond of , as noted by several introductions to his poems (Vol.7- Complete works of Savarkar).
There is an evolutionary pattern in these compositions and from period 1910 to 1920. Every subsequent poem has roots in the previous one or is further unfolding of the previous one. The ‘epic' Kamala integrates all imageries, allusions, concepts, elements, themes and concerns expressed in earlier poetic compositions.
Interestingly number of poems revolves around definite constellation of characters. The four main characters, Mukul, Mukund, Premala and Mukund repeat over and over again in number of poems exhibiting his obsession with characters probably drawn from his earliest childhood family life.
There is a continuous regression, from his youthful fantasies, into the childhood or infancy, leading to complete loss of reality and identification of reality with his dream life. His outer world was burning with rage for avenging the defeats of Peshwas and Marathas in battle of Panipat at the hands of Mlenchaas.
We observe a pathological, obsessive compulsion on him to plunge into abyss and the world of his own ‘dreams' (there are numerous references to dreams and observations on dreams in all his poetic compositions) and like Abhimanyu (son of Arjuna- the archer from Mahabharata) he had the means to pierce into the dark abyss but had no means, inspiration and courage at his disposal to ‘progressively' come out of it. His a-historical journey invariably ends up at the discovery of a ‘romantic lady' whose burning unfulfilled erotic desires lured him. This leads him finally to his creation, Kamala' drenched in romance and enveloped by rage and reprisal. The Hero of ‘Kamala' is compelled to sacrifices her ‘desires' to avenge the ‘defeat of Panipat battles.
His poems are studded by erotic metaphors and imageries like ‘ Garden of Flowers , ‘sacrifice of flowers' and the revengeful energies are however provided by the myths which had become part of his psychic life in the form of symbols. The principal characters of all these compositions exhibit influence of Indian and Greek Mythology. They are egocentric and all of them represent ‘revenge' and blind rage.
Kamala has roots in number of previous compositions and merges with subsequent compositions. It has evolved over years. The Compositions like, “Chandoba, Chandoba (Hey moon), ‘Sayanghanta' (Tolling of Evening Bells), ‘Nidre' (‘O' Sleep'), ‘Kamala' and ‘Virah shwasotshwas', have been reviewed as they form continuity and stages of escalation of his flowering fantasies. The centre stage however is occupied by the phantasy named Kamala . At the end I have attempted to demonstrate how Kamala was triggered by ‘guilt of patricide' rooted in another myth ‘ Krauch Vadh (Killing of male crane ) and ‘flowered and supplemented by Vinayak's obsession with myth of Gajendra Moksha ' (deliverance of King Elephant God). These phantasies can be interpreted like dreams. We know well that ‘Interpretation of dreams' is the royal road to penetrate through the ‘primary psychic repressions' and know what goes on in the depths of the ‘unconscious'. Now let me begin with few well-documented remarks, comments and criticisms on his compositions by well known Marathi critiques and News Paper Editorials of his time to reach to the core of his poetic thrust. (Refer Volume 7, Savarkar's Samagra Sahitya).
Remarks, reviews & criticisms.
‘ Maharashtra ' DT. 26.08.1934 regards him as one of the finest poet in Human History. His metaphors, allusions, analogies, imagination and creativity are comparable to that of Sanskrit poet Kalidas's poetical creations. His Epic Poem ‘Kamala' will be remembered forever for its Form, aesthetic values and its dynamics .
Kesari DT. 18.09.1934 comments that ‘Kamala' the epic makes us to feel that Kalidas is reborn. Romance is ‘Kamala's life and has been developed with supreme skills. Dainik Kaal DT. 10.11.1950 compares Savarkar with Shakespeare.
Dr. P.N. Joshi (Vivek) dt. 29.05.1955 . Comments that, ‘Kamala' is the phantasied lady and is Savarkar's creation. Epic has it's origin in defeat of Maratha Kingdom at Panipat's war. This romantic creation by Savarkar however infringes on the boundaries of erotic and into the ridiculous (sexualized) zone of life. It is so powerful in its patriotic appeal that the ‘Veer Ras' ( emotive aesthetics of valor) appears to stand and dance on the Head of the erotic' . As if the ‘Veer Ras' is expression of the erotic or sexual. This slightly critical comment shows some insights into the inner structure of this poetic creation and in a way admits that sexuality and eroticism as it's the foundation on which has been built the superstructure of rage.
Vedant Acharya Balashastri Hardas identifies KAMALA as “self narration of experiences in Savarkar's revolutionary life”
Almost each of the critiques have regarded ‘Kamala' at the center of Savarkar's poetic creations.
Prof. V.G. Maydeo' introduction to this epic is lengthy. It introduces the events and sequence, which led to the creation of this Epic. The Epic with 882 verses was published in 1921, however it was composed much earlier, years before, in face of insurmountable hardships of the prison conditions where writing material was prohibited and attracted severe punishments if writing material was discovered in prison. As a solution to surmount this difficulty Savarkar used his already developed habit of reciting –remembering, learning his verses by heart for months and years together.
The detailed introduction to this composition, by Prof. V.G. Maydeo, make significant points about Epic ‘Kamala'.” It shows the influence of Milton 's ‘Paradize Lost' and Homer's ‘ ILIAD and ODYSSEY”. This also is compounded by the influence of ancient ‘poet of Erotic' Kalidas and myth of Krauncha Vadh (the Curse of Valmiki to Nishad), the hunter. (“Oh hunter you have killed the lovelom male of the Krauncha pair and left over the female in dire unbearable anguish, may you be starved of erotic pleasure throughout your life”). It is clear that Prof. Maydeo did encounter in ‘Kamala' conglomeration and superimposition of symbols of ‘Kirat Arjun War', ‘Krauncha Vadh' of Valmiki and ‘Oedipus' and other Greek Tragedies.
He also attributes this significant influence to father Damodarpant's teachings and guidance imparted to son Vinayak in his childhood. Prof. Maydeo dwells upon Vinayak's complete obsession with the defeat at Panipat battle which proved to be fatal for Maratha Kingdom under Peshwas. Above criticisms provided me with definite insights into structure and subject of the compositions and I suspect they may provide me the path for discovery of the ‘psychological core' of ‘Warrior Hindu'.
Trapped in the Dream Web
Savarkar's habit of weaving his dream phantasies began as a response or reaction to the protracted efforts to overcome and suppress his experienced instinctual, psychic and physical frustration of prison life. Historic accounts available reveal that it began immediately, within few months, from his deportation to Andaman Prison. It is highlighted by the Introduction to the poem, ‘O' sleep. Savarkar's day began at 5 a.m. - chopping trees with a heavy wooden mallet and then he would be yoked to ‘KOLU' (hand driven oil mill) each day and after completing the grueling punishment he used to surrender himself to dreams, his favorite ‘play'. Savarkar became a prolific dreamer and, which enabled him to recall every day from his memories ‘the beloved ones'. In fact the introduction says that for a long time after waking bells rang in morning hours at Andaman prison , he failed to differentiate between his dreaming life and waking life, indicating that he was prisoner of his own dream images and dream events. In his composition, ‘Nidre' (O Sleep) and ‘Sayanghanta' (Evening Bells when the prisoners were blocked in their cells), confirms that he was habituated to take shelters into dreaming. “The chariots of Dreams drive my ‘self' to any destination on earth, in water, in air or in sky desired and facilitated my engagements and enjoyments” with “beloved from my past life” and even the “new ones”. (Verses 110 to 126).
In poem ‘O' sleep there is a further revelation of this process. In his passage into dream life and the cinematic image sequences, he identifies his penetration strategy (chakravyuh) with that of ‘Abhimanyu', who knew (learnt in his mother's womb) how to penetrate, but never knew how to come out ! “The chariot of time in dream life, drove my ‘self' into the ‘past', re-experience it. The Golden dreams enables even the ‘old' (like ‘Yayati') to make ‘love' with ‘charming' ‘Rati', and enter into ‘Love Union' with the ‘beloved ‘ of their childhood. The first kisses by the charming lady are re-experienced as ‘the sexual pleasures'. Like lightning flash, the ‘past' emerges as ‘present' in this ‘cinematic images' of dreams” (Verses 40 to 56). Overtly sexual imagery is repressed here to give way to regressive ‘womb imagery'.
We encounter one more layer of the Dream Web in his poem, “Maranonmukh Shayyevar” (On a sick Bed – that threatened to be A Death Bed – Addressed to His sister in law). Vinita expressed his fears very loudly as he suspected having fallen victim to deadly Tuberculosis and was counting his last days. During his stroll outside prison cell on -a patch of green lawns - he was obsessed with the fears that “I could not induce myself to take further step since I fear my step may ‘kill' the blooming seeds (Blades) of the grass” and was also obsessed with grave doubts about “my hand holding the morsel midway between the dish and mouth would automatically refuse to carry it further and from the very depth of my being a protest would arise, ‘Hold'!” Since it will amount to be a criminal ‘aborting' or murdering a child, and every child in the womb before its birth. Here he discusses at length ‘rebirth' of flowers and seeds. He had a deep fear that he has become ‘lunatic‘(Verses 111 to 142). The entire journey of his poetic creations clearly reveals that he was obsessed with fear of dyeing ‘childless' . This fear finds a crucial place in Kamala (verses 535-36 and other verses). In one of his mini poems, ‘Departure from my dear Village' (Paragavi Jatana), he discloses the arrangement of his characters in ‘Kamala'. In this poem he introduces the reader to Character named ‘Premala'. In KAMALA and other compositions such as ‘Virahoshwasotshwas', character ‘Premala' makes her appearance as fiancée of central character ‘Mukul'.
KAMALA has four principle characters with triangular romantic relationship, ‘Kamala' the charming woman, Mukund (her Husband) and Mukul his dearest friend. This character Mukund (the name of youthful Lord Krishna) and ‘Mukul' are pictured as two dearest and close friends (like blood brothers). Mukul's destiny in Kamala and the subsequent poetic composition ‘Virahoshwasotshwas' (1915) with his heroic battles with the ‘mlenchhas'- non Hindus (enemies of Chhatrapati Shivaji), his arrest and subsequent rigorous life imprisonment imposed in tiny cell (Kalkothadi). Vinayak Damodar Savarkar completely discloses his identity with the character ‘Mukul' in the next poem, ‘Virah Shwasoshwas' (sigh in anguish of separation). The Mukul, the central character of the poem is cursed by sage Valmiki and had to leave this world and abandon all pleasures of marital life. He is caught by enemy and jailed in ‘Kalkothadi' (Dark Prison hole). This identification will put us firmly on the right tract of identification of all other characters in ‘KAMALA'. Also, ‘Mukul' means, ‘Bud” or ‘New Born' child, Mukund and Mukul probably are the elder brother, ‘ Babarao-Vinayak'or Father-Son' duo. Mukund identifies Mukul as his ‘mirror image' like father treats his son hence I suspect that poet has created this character (Mukund) in the image of his father.
Presence of large number of ambiguous terms, metaphors, allegories and symbols representing both, sexual and ‘a-sexual' meanings provided Savarkar an opportunity to exert an erotic thrust in the entire composition . Like symbolic Abhimanyu he could enter in to the DREAM WEB of his primal desires for satisfaction of lusts but became its prisoner forever and lost his way to regain conscious existence!
Kamala –Vinayak's Personal Plot.
Overwhelming influence of Oedipal Greek Tragedies and the mythological story of ‘Krauncha Vadh' is of uppermost interest in Kamala. The tragic effects of the conflict between the supreme power exercised by the Curse of sage Valmiki and the attempts by the principal characters of the tragedy to escape from the disastrous impact of the curse by taking recourse to invasion on enemy camp of ‘Mlenchaas' at the cost of imposing supreme sacrifice on Kamala for the cause of the Hindu Rashtra. Poet used the myth of ‘Gajendra Mokshya' to redeem from the curse of ‘Krauncha (crane) Vadh'. This conflict forms the central driving motive force of ‘KAMALA'.
The story of Imaginary charming woman ‘Kamala' unfolds in the phantasised ‘Garden of flowers'. Garden is filled with heavenly attractions, erotic beauty and happiness. Kamala strolls in the Garden for offering prayers to the god with traditional grace and enters into erotic relationship with every object in the Garden. Mukund, her husband is hypnotized by her charms.
Almost 275 verses are dedicated to depict Kamala's tender relationships with various objects and behavior with her ‘Mother in law'. She is married to Mukund at very early age of childhood (say five or six years of her age). The age factor gives an impression that Kamala's imaginary character and images resembles some one Vinayak was closely related to, memory traces of his early age of his infancy and childhood (may be his mother! Vinayak lost his mother when he was nine) Incidentally there are numerous references to dreams and metaphors in verses devoted to Mukund – Kamala romance, which corroborates that ‘Kamala' is the woman of his dreams. Surprisingly, in composition ‘Kamala' it is ‘ Mukul' and not Mukund emerges as the principle and central character.
The sequence of events adopted in the verses resembles those in dreams, a rapid inexorable regression into childhood. They begin unfolding from the present to the deeper regions of the past, from youth to childhood, regression to infancy. Father- Son- Mother Relations suddenly acquire the center stage of this phantasy ‘Kamala' . The entry of character Mukul, Mukund's dearest friend is intriguing. Mukul's gestures and behavior towards Kamala resembles that of mother –child but at the same time, have equally affectionate-romantic overtones. On more than one occasion Mukund sees Mukul as his own mirror image and painfully addresses his preparedness to relinquish marital enjoyments and abstain from sexual pleasures as a gesture of deep emotional bond he shares with Mukul and to demonstrate his solidarity with Mukuls' commitment as fierce warrior and to take on enemies of Shivaji and avenge defeat of Bhausaheb Peshwa at Panipat.
Mukund and Mukul's are engaged in lengthy dialogues full of jests and poking fun of each other, revolve around Kamala, her unsatisfied emotional and erotic desires. Mukul rigorously impresses upon Mukund to first attend to Kalama's marital desires and the importance of procreation and son's commitment (in Hindu Religion) in discharging his duty to procreate and fulfill father's desires before father's death. (Verses 506 to 545). These dialogs are significant in one more way. The poem incorporates the fears expounded earlier in poem, ‘Maranonmukhshyayya' above. The inhibiting fears of impotency or dieing ‘childless' had gripped Vinayak. Here we have a confirmation that Mukund – Mukul' are the characters created by the poet, Vinayak himself, by splitting his own ego to perform different roles. We get confirmation of our enquiry so far in Prof. V.G. Maydeo's identification of KAMALA as ‘poetic narration in which poet exercises his right to conceal and articulate his ideas under ruse .
Rapid transition of this poetics into drama makes it clear that V. D. Savarkar has created these two and other characters to satisfy some compulsive logic of his own burning sexual desires and concealing of Oedipal desires and the experienced guilt. It is an extremely ‘Egocentric Phantasy' in which the principle characters are the result of splitting up of the ego of the poet into more than one ‘part egos'. Poet sits ‘inside' the second character (Mukul) and observes and intervenes in the unfolding course of events and shapes them . On the other hand the main character (Mukund) stands aloof and plays insignificant role in unfolding drama. ‘Mukul' (bud) takes charge of the heroic deeds w hile Mukund plays the role of second fiddle. Through the introduction of these characters V.D.Savarkar has personified the conflicting currents of his own mental life.
(Kraunch Vadh-Patricide or Fatricide?)
It is strange that Mukul articulates incredible ‘insights' into grasping Kamala's burning desires. In fact he is shown as a character making innumerable attempts to ‘induce' through jests ‘Mukund to enter into ‘love act- orgasm' with Kamala to ensure procreation. This persistency of perusal to highlight need to procreate and Mukul's deep insights into Kamala's longings and Mukund's ‘ inability to act in crucial matter', his hesitations and inhibitions confirms that through this conflict Vinayak as a poet, has articulated his ‘self doubts' and repressed fears of dieing childless .
Mukul- Mukund conversations have many twists and turns. They are intended to create intense erotic atmosphere and are prelude to anxious and dramatic events unfolding at accelerated pace . In several verses Mukul questions Mukund's intentions to abstain from erotic life till Mukul gets married. It compels Mukul to express his profound guilt and is forced to ask Mukund “Am I (my mind) so savage and monstrous to wish scorching of Kamala's erotic desires before their blossoming into flower. (Verses 533-36).
The conflict between affectionate gestures towards Mukund and unconscious desire to disengage Mukund at the peak moment of ‘orgasm' forms the psychological settings and framework determining the course of rapid unfolding of dramatic events. Mukul is shown to be bearing the guilt and mental burden of Sage Valmiki's curse to hunter Nishad. The events which are cramped into next hundred verses provide the evidence of Mukul's desperate attempt to absolve himself from curse.
Vinayak navigates through the ‘darkest erotic imagery' to impress upon significance of relishing erotic moments and ‘sowing the seeds' in intense act of love and procreation. He emphasizes that these moments alone have created Hindu warrior saviors ‘born in epochs' like Vikramaditya, Gurugobindsingh and Chatrapati Shivaji who trounced the invading Muslim Rulers. He illustrates importance of erotic life of Hindu Gods and goddesses from Hindu scriptures to authenticate his arguments (verses 791 to 805). From here he takes the readers down on to dream scene of ‘parental union'. Vinayak has mustered all his energies and capacities to create the desired erotic imagery to reach up to imagined scene of ‘love Act' of Kamala – Mukund. He has likened it with the ‘ love act of parents' – ‘Kamasan' (orgiastic postures of parents). He pictures it as the moment of total hypnosis where the couple is engrossed (like cranes- Kraunch birds!). All critics excluding Dr. P.N. Joshi have kept deafening silence on these verses. Dr. P. N. Joshi ( (Vivek) dt. 29.05.1955 ) has termed these as as ‘highly erotic and infringing upon the boundaries of ridiculous or vulgar”! The poet here discloses his own repressed scoptophilic ‘phantasy'. The phantasy passes on to next strange scene which confirms his Oedipal guilt of wishing breakage of parental engagement .
At this peak moment of the ‘phantasized orgasm', uncanny episode breaks out. Frightening noises and galloping sounds of horses emerging from the unknown source cleaves the dream scene. We enter into new scenario. Tense Mukul wearing soldier's uniform steps down from the saddle of the horse and knocks doors of the ‘Mukund –Kamala's Royal Bedroom (‘shayyagrah') to read out the King's Order. Mukul now addresses Mukund. “I am in a hurry. I must leave for final battle with the enemies ‘Mlenchaas' (Muslims) to attack enemy camp. Shri Bhau (who was deadly wounded in Panipat battle and finally perished at Kurukshetra), has ordered me to take revenge of killings of Maratha warriors like Dattaji and now my ‘shiledars' (sergeants) are waiting for my orders to invade the enemy camps! As a Maratha warrior what should I be asking for is a blessings from mother (presumably Kamala?) But dear Mukund, please do not join me. Kamala must be fast asleep and I must avoid making you a request to leave Kamala. It will amount to throwing her into fire, sacrificing her life.
Mukul troubled by the curse, takes over the role of Achilles the primal character in THE ILIAD, the fierce Greek warrior who is driven by rage, pride and honor. On the other hand his dearest brother-friend (Mukund) is duty bound by Rules of Religion to procreate and fulfill Kamala's desires. Hence to absolve himself from the curse, Mukul prepares himself for going into the final battle field all alone to take revenge of defeat at Panipat (At the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali). He wows to fight like the warriors of Shivaji to defend HINDUTWA!
Does he escape impact of the Oedipal guilt or escape from Valmiki's curse? Mukund suddenly decides to disobey Mukul's advices and follows Mukul on to the battle field. Disengagement of the Kraunch pair is complete. KAMALA is wounded and is in insurmountable grief and has horrendous dream! Here we find integration and superimposition of two distinct moments in the drama, one tragic and other barbaric irrational. The escape route for Mukul, for avoiding punishment for fratricide, lies in fleeing from spheres of sexuality into spheres of battlefield and genocidal politics of violence. Mukul replaces patricide by fratricide in thoughts; unconscious urge for revenge is thus complete! The unconscious sexual energies are marshaled for aggressive and violent ends. Poet's personal plot wears the garbs of ‘Krounch vadh', as anxiety reaction to his own inhibitions and fears of dyeing childless and wishing an escape from the curse for achieving immortality and redemption.
From Fratricide to Genocide -Redemption from curse
The ‘Oedipal' dream fantasy of forcible raking up of the parental union and sage Valmiki's curse to ‘Hindu' responsible for splitting the orgasm of ‘loved ones' ( ???? ???????????????? ) hangs heavily on Mukul. ‘Virahshwasoshwas' (composition subsequent to KAMALA) echoes this guilt and self pity for Andaman Imprisonment (Kalkothadi) as punishment earned for a crime committed and accumulated over hundred births till rebirth in human life ( ?????? ???????? ?? ??) . Panicked by the eventuality of the curse, Poet had struggled in KAMALA for redemption and immortality. The way to absolve lies in his barbaric choice of sacrificing Kamala to respond to Shivaji's call for aggression on Mlenchaas. Critics are struck by grafting of myth of Gajendra Moksha' on his guilt of Krauncha Vadh in KAMALA. Mukul decides to go all alone on to the battle field. But alas, the inevitable aught to happen. Final events end up in raking up the Kamala- Mukund union and leaving Kamala in insurmountable grief and anguish. The mystical and unthinkable happenings are forced by ‘Mukul's sudden re-entry on to the scene, ‘Mukund –Kamala's ‘shayyagrah' (Royal Bedroom).
The final verses exhibit ‘uncanny characteristics' like those in horror dreams in which familiar becomes unfamiliar and threatening. It final verses are marked by the external stimuli disturbing the continuation of dream (ringing of prison bells at dawn) , produces the images of sound of galloping horses emerging from unknown source which inevitably rakes up ‘Mukund – Kamala' union.
In subsequent scene (following scene of parental orgiastic posture) Mukund refuses to oblige Mukul and argues, “My dear Mukul, I can only disregard your advice when enemies of Hindutwa have surrounded us, when old and young are dieing. Can I avoid responding to Shivaji's call? Are not myself and you (Mukul) same and identical, undifferentiated? Kamala is asleep on the Royal Bed and I salute her, bow before her in anguish, ‘O', God save Kamala! (Verses 865 to 874). The chariots of Horses begin galloping towards the camps of ‘mlenchhas'(Muslims) . The Mukund – Kamala separation is achieved. ‘Kraunch vadha' is complete, female Crunch is in dire state of pain and anguish. Kamala wakes up with dreadful anxiety dream scenes of aggression on enemy camps of Mlenchaas and in which loving beds are set on fire. The condensation and superimposition of dream imagery is revealed in the ending verses quoted bellow.
“Horses Yell and Gallop forward, Breathless Soldiers march ahead,
Enemy camp is under attack,
Guns roar endlessly, swords cross and shine,
Roars Every where, Loving Beds (Kamala's) turn into Battlefields .
Dream turns into truth !”
Royal Bed lamp flares up, wild fire spreads and engulf,
Colors of love (erotic desires) turn Bloody Red,
and Garden of Flowers is set on fire. ‘O' my Blossoming Bakula (Flowers), your fragrance is in vain,
(‘O' Kamala) your cries are in vain and your beloved disappear
The Royal Beds are set on fire and Dreams turn into truth ! (Verses 871 to 882)
Most horrendous and stunning end of the composition KAMALA compels the readers to hear the cries and yells of ‘Kamala', who dreamt of lighting up of royal beds in with fire . The war mongers fail her; sacrifice her for their own ‘immortality' and redemption and to avenge the defeat at Panipat battlefield! Kamala and ‘Mlenchas' (Muslims) both are sacrificed!
Mukul / Vinayak takes hold of the fallen saffron Hindu flag of slain Maratha Peshwas, Sadashivraobhau and Vishwasrao from Panipat battle field and in real life unfurls it as National flag of Hindu India . It symbolically represents the rage and combative revenge to integrate and camouflage violence with ascetic tradition. Genocide replaces fratricide . Oedipal desires are transformed into violence against ‘Muslims'. Genocide becomes the way out in reality for escaping from guilt, a permanent flowering phantasy. In final verses Savarkar adumbrated his mature political theory that the escape root for resolution of Oedipal conflict lies in elevation of dream phantasy life on to political horizon and displacement of instinctual forces on to ‘Other', as hatred of Muslims and violent genocide!
Poet aims at instigating the readers and audience by evoking valor (Rudra Ras) and battle cry of warriors and bids to hypnotize readers with patriotism. However in the process he discloses the process of escalation of rage and violence driven by repressed instinctual forces. From the burning bed of Kamala emerge the triumph of the Psychopaths and psychotics in the battle field. Symbols of erotic are camouflaged by blood symbols. Garden of flowers is set on fire! Kamala sacrifices her life for liberation of ‘Vinayak! Dreams come true! Reality submerges and Virtual dream reality emerges- that of ‘Hindu Rashtra'.
In Interpretation of final episode we come across compounding of images from ‘preconscious' and ‘unconscious'. We suspect that sounds of galloping horses disturbing the ‘Kamala –Mukund union' are likely to be caused by external stimulus, the disturbing ringing sounds of ‘wake up bells' in Andaman prison in morning hours . However the dream wish to continue the sleep masters these external stimuli and fulfills the wish of continuation of and prolonged dreaming. The conversation leading to aggression on camp of mlenchaas to avenge the defeat seems to be provided by the desires residing in ‘preconscious' while the Oedipal dream phantasy of splitting the pair, ‘love act of parents' is triggered by psycho sexual force residing in the ‘unconscious'.
Through the interpretation of Kamala I have tried to discover various layers of Vinayak's psychic reality, in which a variant of ‘Oedipal Complex', guilt of the Krauncha Vadh, forms the bottom most layer of impulse. Composition ‘KAMALA can be seen as response or reaction to Vinayak's one or series of Oedipal dreams in Andaman jail. Troubled by the curse, Vinayak attempts to absolve himself by taking flight to battlefield against Muslims by leaving the popular masses languishing under plague of repression, economic, social and cultural exploitation and slavery of imperial capital.
Comparison of Savarkar's KAMALA by few commentators with Shakespeare (who also deals with subject of relations of son to his parents or subject of childlessness ) or with Oedipus of Sophocles is ridiculous in terms of treatment of the subject. Oedipus when felt troubled by recollection of oracle of the sage, unravels the patricidal and lustful past with ‘ever-mounting excitation' with sole purpose of repealing the plague ravaging Thebes . In doing so poet compels the readers and audience to recognize their own minds and discover the same suppressed impulses. If “ Oedipus Rex , expresses the consciousness of a whole people”, KAMALA is uncanny horror dream- phantasy propelled by sexual fury unleashed by Mukul, is articulated as political violence for pulling down the dams of civilization which can manifest itself only as Fascism !
Mukul's revolt in ‘Kamala' leads to a horrendous end! When ‘dreams turn into truth', Mukul –Mukund now merge into each other and emerge as psychopath waging war against Muslims. In my interpretation I have done nothing other turning upside down and contextualized the mildest criticism leveled by Dr. P. N. Joshi (Vivek). ‘Veer Ras' appears to stand on the Head of the erotic' to uncover the birth of violence unleashed by ‘Warrior Hindu'.
Savarkar's ‘Kamala' does not give any message of confrontation to those ‘above', a threat which would have alarmed British imperial capital. Instead he chose to exhume his sexual past to take revenge and fulfill his political obligations to Sadashivrao Bhau and Vishwasrao peshwa who were killed by Ibrahim Lodhi's army in panipat battle. (Incidentally on birth of his son in 1928, Savarkar named d his son ‘Vishwas') Here is a poet whose courage had already crumbled to pieces in the initial period of Andaman, even in thought, and so also in poetic creations, could not have been expected to take on the mighty imperial capital. Instead he plunged into darkness and lacked courage to pursue the truth and opted for desperate attempt to unleash violence in the arena of political culture for personal redemption. Hence it shatters the claim as great piece of Literature and Art!
Founding of the Fascist Philosophy
I have sketched an analysis of psychic events and mental- character structure of Savarkar's ideology of rage against Muslim and other communities through interpretation of his poetic phantasy ventures in Andaman . His Andaman poetry provides us the window to view and witness how the upper most surface layers of his psychic life , the revengeful blood symbols and sacrificial imagery, is completely subsumed and enslaved by erotic instincts seething down in to in unconscious.
I wish to turn to another element of final episodes leading to hysterical identifications of ‘Warrior Hindus'. Mukund abandoning Kamala and joining Mukul for final battle with Muslims and conversation, “Are not myself and you (Mukul) same and identical, undifferentiated?” fulfills another condition of ‘dream phantasy'. It conceals Mukul's fratricidal hostility towards Mukund. In doing so Vinayak discloses the process of ‘hysterical identification' in formation of ‘fascist group' by way of condensation of two figures on the foundations of seething sexual instincts . This process of distortion is possibly brought about by psychological ‘censorship' exercised by resistance to disclosure of Oedipal desires! We know from psychoanalysis that Identification is ‘highly important factor in the mechanism of symptoms' which are part of dream work. We can now conclude that V.D. Savarkar has expounded his philosophical theory of fascism organized Fascist groups now we can proceed to examine few of his political and communal responses in literature and latter life.
When transferred to Ratnangiri Prison V.D. Savarkar's ‘mental reality' was formed, reified and crystallized. Poetics of Andaman continued to impact his waking life in Ratnangiri Jail. His ‘Purification Movement', launched in Jail did not spare a single opportunity to propagate hate campaign against Muslim prisoners and to demolish their ‘arrogance'. “I resorted to my tried out medicine! I caught hold of, organized couple of professional ‘expert Hindu dacoits ……. The bunch of criminals included an old criminal who was given harshest punishments at least a few times”. V. D. Savarkar personally instigated organized ‘anti Muslim' bash in Ratnangiri and Yerawada Prisons. Detailed account of it appears in ‘Majhi Janmathep' (pages 503 to 505). The issues such as ‘Religious Purification' and opposition to ‘Dalit exclusion' and planned exclusion of ‘Mlenchaas- Christians' and ‘social reforms for casteless Hindu Nation' became main plank for launching fetish for resurrection of ‘Casteless and classless Hindu nation State'.
In a sub chapter ‘ Ultimate Suicidal attacks' of ‘Mazi Janmathep' Savarkar mentions about series of suicidal compulsive attacks he underwent (1921-23). We have already uncovered Savarkar's psychic breakdowns as the basis of his ideology and the driving force of his philosophy. In 1923 his Book- “Hindutwa- who is Hindu” outlined the cornerstones of his Hindu Nationalism and Hindu Nation State, which come close to those of Rassenideologie of Nazis in Germany and which denied citizenship to Muslims and Christians. The man who saw Hindutwa as an Indian ‘Risorgimento' finally became the fundamental ideologue of the worst bloodsheds in the Indian history with Hindu Muslim confrontations. Yes and true, Ashok Malik's statement Savarkarism ‘has never been more alive” is proved in the facts of genocides and holocausts.
Marzia Casolari's research paper refers to 21 st session of Hind Mahasabha in 1939 when Savarkar made one of the most explicit comparisons between the Muslim question in India and the Jewish problem in Germany . But research paper does not throw any surprise at us. Interpretation of Savarkar's poetic venture KAMALA disclose his triad before and till 1938 to support Hitler's anti-Jewish policy of extermination of Jews and articulation of veiled threats of identical fate for Muslims in India . This article can be just a foot note if Marxists and P sychoanalysts can plunge into the debate at this critical hour.
‘My Legacy'- Undisguised Barbarism
I have tried to deduce from the conflict or the two concurrent or mutually opposing views of those who regard him as Hindu nationalist par excellence, an archetype, ‘warrior ideal' who spent his imprisoned years in horrific conditions, alone in a ‘tiny cell' and opposed views of the liberals like Manishankar Aiyer who treat him as villain for whom he was a ‘villain' in view of surrender to British Imperialism by making clemency petitions and giving undertakings.
But both ignored, suppress or unaware of how horrific the dream is and being the psychotic vision which can work only as a fetish for providing barbaric form to capitalist rule and provide sanctions for holocausts. Amidst the retreat of the Nehruvianism, Ashok Malik greets with pleasure the rapid speedy ascendance of the fascist organizations, their might and their influence in shaping the Indian state. The signs of merging and confluence of two seemingly antithetical trends, Warrior and ascetic. One “RSS working from the bottom up from grass root communities” and two Savarkarism providing lethal philosophical leadership for the organized ‘Warrior Hindu Groups' committed to extermination and holocaust fully supplement each other.
His claim that the triumph of ‘political Hindu', of a polity sensitive to the “Hindu cultural mainstay of Indian Nationhood”, “while eschewing ritualism and dogma, incorporating robust Nationalism” also sounds hollow and pathetic. What we see today's ‘political Hindu' participating in Gujarat or Mumbai genocides is mass of petty bourgeoisie and lumpen in despair completely submerged in to ritualism, phantasies and dogma whose psychical foundation remain the mythological symbols expressing the guilt residing in their psyche. His concealed claim that Savarkar was ‘rationalist' is equally misplaced. Structure of KAMALA provides us enough evidence of the irrational psychotic mental make up. Unlike Oedipus, who “resolved the dark enigma”, who “recognized the guilt in his own mind” and who perused his quest till the guilt is brought to light, Savarkar had no courage and commitment to do any thing of the sort. Instead he attempted to escape from his ‘individual fate' and for achieving ‘Redemption. Philosophy of Oedipus is quest for truth. Vinayak's philosophy is obsesses ion with immortality and redemption. Hence he takes plunge into archaic darkness and guides his ‘fellow travelers' to direct the seething instincts against ‘Mlenchaas'.
Today's scenario differs from that of V.D. Savarkar's time (as prisoner in 1924) by degrees only but on sprawling magnitude and scale. Gujarat 's carnage instigated and protected in year 2002 witnessed the replay of tiny event of riot in Ratnagiri and Yerawada Prisons in 1921-23. Today mass of psychotic groups from the ranks of petty bourgeoisie in despair are led by ideologues of lesser caliber such as Togadias and Bajarang Dal activists driven by identical phantasies, dreams and guilt. They are inching forward violently and silently to influence and infiltrate political state and its powerful institutions. Today it is time to closely understand ‘Savarkarism' and phantasies of lesser gods more seriously. If Savarkar understood ‘statecraft and the importance of state power', the mantle of historical task in unveiling and bursting the fetish of “Casteless and classless Hindu resurgent state”' falls on shoulders of mass of working people, industrial workforce, the tribal, the landless rural poor, leaders of Indian labor, trade unions and class of intellectuals committed to pursuance of truth and to close the ranks and take on ghosts of Savarkar more seriously and not to dismiss their programs as blend of reaction and dreams.
After the crushing of the working class revolution in Germany and Europe after end of First World War and murdering of its leadership like Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnetcht, German labor committed this historic mistake and their organizations got shattered and opened avenues for barbaric holocaust under third Reich striving for destruction of humanity. It is time to say ‘Never Again', ‘Never Again' to the psychotic vision- ‘Legacy of resurrection of Fascist Hindu State ' .
Anil Pundlik Gokhale is an engineer profession and the author of ‘Condensation And Condescension In Dreams And History: Essay - From Sigmund Freud To E P Thompson’ published by Author House London.