Monday, February 26, 2007

Veer Savarkar - remembered

Today is Veer Savarkar’s 41st death anniversary.

I was fortunate to witness funeral procession of Veer Savarkar from the balcony of one of our relatives( Bapat Maushi) in Lamington Road. I remember my father, after hearing the news of Savarkar’s demise had asked us to start from our home at Andheri to reach this place ( How he did during pre telehone days – that I don’t recall). By evening, when Savarkar’s cortege arrived , the entire road from Apsara Talkies that led to chowpaty was swarmed with people. I had not known about him then but that image of funeral procession has remained in my memory. The other congregations that come parallal to this were that of witnessing Nehru’s urn in Nasik to be immersed in Godawari river, Lining up on western express highway in Bombay to watch heroic welcome of Neil Armstrong, Eldrich and Triumphant Indian cricket team after winning first test match in England.

I wouldn’t have known about Savarkar’s death anniversary, had it not been for my attempt to post a reply to my friend’s outburst against Savarkar -in our yahoo group forum. Normally, I don’t take notice of such remarks and observations as everyone is entitled to have his opinion and beliefs, but his remark was far too caustic for me to remain quiet.

My repost to my friend’s claims went something like this: (It’s been edited to keep only those points that are relevant to Savarkar)


It is understandable of Congress party projecting Savarkar as an opponent with his Hindu Mahasabha taking opposite view and later hardening their stance after Mahatma Gandhi's murder. Congress party with ignorant political creatures like Mani Shankar Ayer can act in childish manner to boycott the ceremony of installing Savarkar's portrait in Parliament, They can defend terrorists and ignore revolutionaries such as Savarkar, Madanlal Dhingra , Bhagat Singh. But what is surprising is that those of us who don't get swayed by our political masters do not take cognizance of Savarkar as a great patriot, revolutionary, poet and writer. How can people t ignore that these very people inspired incandescence of freedom - it may not be in same measure as Gandhi did with his non violence but sure it did rattle British Empire.

The life of Savarkar is an exemplary illustration of one individual who can have abundance of intellect, talent, intensity and firebrand freedom fighting abilities. If one takes a glimpse at his writings, poetry and prayers. One cannot but be in awe with such a personality. Yes, he has and had a distinctive political ideologue but one must not forget that he almost envisaged what would happen to India and Kashmir if separate state was to be created from India. If we look at today's situation, he was not far from that prophesy.

Yes, there is a letter written by Savarkar to offer his full-fledged support for early release but you can't condemn him on that count. Gandhiji also gave support to British Empire to fight alongwith them during Second World War. But what congress party conveniently forgets that there is also a letter by British home secretary that says "'it will be dangerous for the British Empire to release Savarkar. His pleas are a ruse to get out the jail. Once out he will organize an underground movement against the British. I therefore reject the petition on the ground that it will be a danger to public safety.' If congress says, that Savarkar become British stooge in order to avoid jail and capital punishment, why did Subhash Chandra Bose, Pandit Nehru welcomed him for 'poorna swaraj declaration 'in 1937? How come various socialist leaders like S M Joshi and Achyut Patwardhan wanted him to join their socialist movement? If he wanted to serve British, Why his own party Hindu Mahasabha vehemently opposed the Cripps commission ?

The fact remains that Savarkar did undergo solitary confinement, standing handcuffed on cross bar fetters and suffered tortures for the murder of the English district magistrate of Nasik and plotting of efforts overthrowing British government. Can his daring escape from porthole of ship be ignored? After his release, congress party accuse him of lying low but history shows that it was due to stringent conditions of his release but even during his confine in Ratnagiri, his efforts of social reforms are well known.

It is propaganda of congress uses is Savarkar was a part of the Gandhi murder conspiracy and he was acquitted by mere technicality. Gandhi murder case had approver 'Digamber Badge' who had testified that Savarkar had blessed the assassins in their mission. But Nathurm Godse in reply to chargesheet denied that he was guided by Savarkar and he did with his own intelligence and judgement.' Court exonerated Savarkar for want of evidence. If Congress was convinced of Savarkar's complicity, why didn't Nehru's Congress government appeal against Savarkar's acquittal? Is it fair to brand anyone murderer when he is acquitted?

Congress also ridicules Savarkar on his Hindutva. But Hindu Mahasabha declaration states that "'Let the Indian State be purely Indian. Let it not recognize any invidious distinction on the grounds of religion and race. Let no cognizance be taken whatsoever of a man being Hindu or Mohammedan, Christian or Jew. Let all citizens of that Indian state be treated according to their worth irrespective of their religion or racial percentage in the general population.' After 66 years of India's independence, have we become truly secular? Reservation, appeasement of minorities have not helped India become stronger instead it has divided India on caste and religious lines only to serve the vote banks of respective political parties.

Those who have read about Savarkar would know Vinayak Damodar Savarkar more than what is projected by congress based on 'letter of confession/remorse in cellular jail and his complicity in Mahatma Gandhi Murder case'. As much as Gandhi is understood by reading' My experiments with Truth', In order to understand Savarkar, one must read his books "Mazi Janmathep" (My Life Sentence), and "1857 - The First war of Independence". This was the only book in the world that was banned before even it was printed. One must read his experiences of "Kala Pani" (in Andamans), that reflected the treatment given to Indian freedom fighters by the British and also poems "Sagara pran talmalala", and "Jayostute" and understand his intensity of patriotism.His poems written by thorns and pebbles( he was denied pen and paper) on cellular walls his prison cell are testimony of his endurance and creativity.


During the process of reading the material on Savarkar, I came across two wonderful piece of information. One was letter by S Gurumurty in response to childish act of removing Plaque of Savarkar from Cellular Jail and second a website of Nathurm Godse – who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. I will add these two separately as both warrant their place on this blog.

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Anonymous makarand bhave said...

If there was a person who has been grossly misquoted and misunderstood (by his own people) is Savarkar. The Brits feared his guts. A simple man with strong views and capability to see them thru. Like Chanakya. No cunning in him, which was his downfall.

Ne majasi ne parat matrubhoomila, Sagara pran talamalala, sagara.. Profoundity!!

Salute to you
Cheers :)

6:55 PM  
Anonymous ashok said...

I dont want to be judgemental on savarkar.
It was a great occasion for me to visit his cell in the cellular jail ,pay tributes to him and offer ’a garland of freshly cut tears’.
And you are so right...the best way to understand him is to read his books...
keep writing

8:08 PM  
Anonymous abha said...

sadly am very ignorant about the politics of his existence!

but whatever l’il bit i know, he always came across a radical freedom fighter!

am sure to read the book asap now!

SUPER write up! gave a brief yet deep insight in to this great man’s life!

keep penning!



8:10 PM  

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