Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

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    In News

    • Recently, a book named “Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition” was released. 

    About Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 

    • Early Life: 
      • He was born in a Hindu Marathi family in Nashik, Maharashtra on May 28, 1883. 
      • He was nicknamed ‘Veer’ for his courage from an early age.
      • He, popularly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar,
      • He was a freedom fighter, politician, lawyer, writer, social reformer, and institutor of Hindutva ideology. 
      • He was heavily influenced by his older brother Ganesh Savarkar. 
    • Contribution in Freedom Struggle: 
      • Propagated the idea of Swadeshi:
        • Savarkar was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi. In 1905, he burnt all the foreign goods in a bonfire on Dussehra.
      • Armed revolt against British; 
        • He was arrested in 1909 on charges of plotting an armed revolt against the Morley-Minto reform. In 1910, he was arrested over his association with the revolutionary group India House. 
        • He was sentenced to two life sentences i.e. 50 years in the cellular jail of Andamans, also known as Kala Pani, in 1911.
        • He was released in 1924 under strict conditions of not participating in politics for 5 years.
      • Formation of Mitra Mela:
        • In his teenage years, Savarkar formed a youth organization. Known as Mitra Mela (Group of Friends), this organization was put into place to bring in national and revolutionary ideas.
      • Untouchability: 
        • He started one of the most powerful social reform movements against untouchability in India”, He built the Patit Pavan Mandir in the Ratnagiri district to allow entry to all Hindus, including Dalits.
      • Writings: 
        • He wrote ‘The Indian War of Independence, 1857’ during his jail time.
        • In the book, he indicated the view that the Indian Mutiny of 1857 was the first expression of Indian mass rebellion against British colonial rule.
        • He also wrote Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu? coining the term Hindutva (“Hinduness’ ‘), which sought to define Indian culture as a manifestation of Hindu values; this concept grew to become a major tenet of Hindu nationalist ideology.
        • He also founded the two-nation theory in his book ‘Hindutva’ calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations. In 1937, Hindu Mahasabha passed it as a resolution.
      • Ideology: 
        • He was instrumental in forming the idea of a Hindu nation before Independence. 
        • He also championed atheism and rationality and also disapproved of orthodox Hindu beliefs. He even dismissed cow worship as superstitious.
      • Views on Quit India Movement of 1942:
        • He opposed the Quit India Movement of 1942. 
        • He was accused of having a role in the conspiracy to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted by the court. 
      • Death:
        • It was in 1964, when Savarkar declared his wish to attain Samadhi and started the hunger strike on February 1, 1966, and passed away on February 26, 1966. 
        • He believed that his purpose in life was solved as India gained Independence.
        • In 2002, Port Blair airport at Andaman and Nicobar Islands was renamed Veer Savarkar International Airport.
      • Book on him: 
        • Historian Vikram Sampath’s concluding volume on the life and works of Veer Savarkar will hit the stands on July 26.
        • The book, titled “Savarkar: A contested Legacy (1924-1966).
      • His views:
    • He was a freedom fighter and staunch nationalist, but people who follow the Marxist and Leninist ideologies are the ones who accuse Savarkar of being a fascist.
    • Savarkar was very forthright in saying that India’s relations with other countries should depend on how conducive they are to India’s security and its interests, irrespective of what kind of government there was
    • Savarkar was India’s first military strategic affairs expert of the 20th century, who gave the country a robust defence and diplomatic doctrine
    • Savarkar’s ideology of Hindutva never suggested differentiation between people on the basis of their culture and “methodology of worshipping god.

    Related Organisations

    • Abhinav Bharat Society (Young India Society)(1904):
      • He established a secret organization called Abhinav Bharat Society in 1904 with his brother, Ganesh Damodar Savarkar.
      • He was associated with India House and founded student societies like Free India Society.
    • India House (1905):
      • It was founded by Shyamji Kishan Verma in 1905 in London.
      • It was opened to promote nationalist views among Indian students in London.
    • Free India Society :
      • It was a political organization of Indian students in England, committed to obtaining the independence of India from British rule.
      • Initially an intellectual group, it became a revolutionary outfit under its founding leader, Madam Bhikaji Cama.
    • Hindu Mahasabha: (1933)
      • As the President of the Hindu Mahasabha:
        • He was a nationalist and one of the most important figures of the Hindu Mahasabha (“Great Society of Hindus”), a Hindu nationalist organization and political party.
        • He also served as the President of the Hindu Mahasabha for seven years. He endorsed the idea of a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation).

    Relevance

    • Vision: 
      • He popularized the term Hinduism (or better known as Hindutva) even when it was very controversial. 
      • The essence of this move was to create a sense of Hindu identity that was predicated on India (Bharat). 
      • His Hindutva was free from Caste Discrimination and other indigenous practices that were breaking Hinduism. 
    • Passion for learning and teaching: 
      • To be a good leader means you must be well-informed and knowledgeable. 
      • Savarkar helped other students understand the struggles of Bharat under the British Occupation and educated others. 
    • Resilience: 
      • Veer Savarkar was confronted with a lot of challenges, but he remained resilient. 
      • He became an author of several books calling for the total independence of India from Britain. 
    • Courage: 
      • Veer Savarkar was so brave that he confronted what was the greatest power on earth at that time – the British Empire. 
      • He boldly called for the total independence of India and even advocated for revolution. He insisted that India must become free. 
      • He opposed Gandhi and other tall leaders of the Indian National Congress to save India from Partition.
    • Pragmatism: 
      • Veer Savarkar was not the best friend of Muslims, but he knew when to team up with them to achieve the same goal. 
      • He demonstrated this in 1939 when he formed a collaboration with the Muslim League and other political parties to take power. 
      • In 1942, Savarkar knew the British army’s presence in India was practically a must-lose situation, and so he opposed the move. 
    • Patience: 
      • Veer Savarkar went through a lot in life, from imprisonment on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to his extradition from the United Kingdom. 
      • However, he took everything in good stride and exhibited the highest levels of patience. 
      • He wrote numerous books and essays while in jail and didn’t lose sight of Hindutva.

    Conclusion

    • It is clear that his relentless efforts for the existence of a free and independent country have been very underappreciated. 
    • With the risk and never-ending drive to see a free nation with the values of Hindutva, he truly stands to be a father figure of the nation.

    Source: TH