Life story of Veer Savarkar

Genius Thrives in Jail    

S was frustrated with his life but a truly ascetic and action man as he was, decided to make the most of his life as it existed. Ever since his childhood S wanted to compose an epic on Panipat, a dream he almost achieved. Many others wrote immortal works in prison like Tilak, Nehru. The difference was that they were supplied with reading and writing facilities but S had none. S was the only eminent political prisoner of world fame who composed some 10,000 odd lines of poetry of great imagination, thought and wrote them on the prison walls with thorns and pebbles, learnt them by heart, and astounded the world, giving a convincing proof of how the Vedas were handed down since the dawn of civilization! One of the jail mates Ram Hari from Prayag was in S’s cell where he learnt by heart S’s Marathi poems which he had written on the wall of his cell.

His ballads and poems are full of our glorious past, patriotism, have inspired thousands of people. No Bhartiya except Valmikhi, Vyas, Chand and Bhushan have sung of the glories of the Hindus, their culture so immensely and epically as S has done. G.T.Madkholkar, an eminent Marathi critic describes S as a poet who rivals Kalidas in the use of similis. S combines the luster of the spear of Maratha warriors and the sweetness of the Maratha saint-poets like non-other during his times. S’s magnum opus in poetry, Kamala rivals in delineation and delicacy with Kalidasa’s Shakuntla. S’s creative imagination is powerful, to his lofty imagination the whole universe is the image of the Lord Shiva. The limitless sky is its hair and in it are the Moon and Milky Way.

Hence it is clear that S’s outlook on life was that of an ascetic moving in great events. Love of action and not renunciation of action was the predominant and positive note of his life and literature. His views on Vedanta philosophy are to be remembered. To him life on this earth was like a three petaled flower. One is colored with pleasure, the second with the color of pain, the third mixed or colorless. Pain and pleasure were part of life. S was not a bloodthirsty man but was guided by the noble precept laid down by Lord Krishna. “Do to others as thou wouldst be done by”.

Death had no horrors for S. He said that he had paid the debt he owed to his Motherland by facing the furious fire, getting himself consumed bone by bone and flesh by flesh, he had paid the debt of God by fighting under His Banner and that he had adopted the Abhinava Bharat to continue the line of his family. If he died in despair he would not feel sad since there was no end to a man’s desires. S was confident that his good Karmas would take care of his next birth. There is one more remarkable point about S, the poet. He introduced blank verse metre called Vinayak into Marathi poetry. The romanticism in S’s poetry was properly bridled by a sense of realism, a love of sacrifice and a goal of universalism. Doyens of Marathi literature, Kelkar, P K Atre paid tributes to his genius.

In Andamans S had ample time to philosophize his political theories and theorize his political philosophy. His thoughts, reading and experience evolved into a definite ideology. The decrease in Hindu population and the consequent danger to Hinduism by rival, proselytizing faiths absorbed his mind. The danger S scented was clear, straight and real unlike the hypocrisy that goes on today. When ever he heard about the conversion of a Hindu his mind turned restless. Almost all-Indian jails had a majority of Hindu prisoners. The authorities would invariably appoint Muslims to the post of petty officers, havaldars esp the Pathans. They turned this into an opportunity to harass Hindus and force Hindu convicts to Islam. Prisoners were so demoralized by the conditions in the jail that some of them succumbed to the invite to convert for small favors.

S decided to put a stop to the conversion activities of the Muslims. S tried to instill some pride in the minds of the Hindu there. One day he heard about a prisoner about to convert. He spoke to the Suptd about it who asked why he is cribbing, why not Hindus convert. To this S replied that Hinduism does not believe in conversions and was based on noble principles. The Hindus never look on religion as a means to wordily religion and social solidarity. The Suptd understood, the prisoner was not converted but he was not allowed by the other prisoners to sit in their file for meals. Ultimately S prevailed upon them to discard their suicidal attitude. It was great news that all over Andamans that S had stopped the conversion of Hindus. He reconverted some Muslims to their original faith. Muslims complained but Hindus realized they that could make reconversions too happen. Hindus there realized that no man lost his faith because he had food, shelter outside his faith.

Despite threats of murder from Barrie, S succeeded in infusing an organic feeling among the Hindu prisoners and even catching the imagination of Hindus in the colony. Just then the census hour struck. S persuaded the Arya Samajis and the Sikhs to record their religion as Hindu or Arya-Sikh Hindu. Definition of a Hindu by Savarkar: “A Hindu is a person who regards his land as Bharat-Varsha from the Indus to the Seas as his fatherland as well as his Holyland that is the cradle land of his religion”.

S supported Reconversion, did not hate Muslims but abhorred the aggressive unjust and wild designs of the Muslims and Missionaries. Except for these points, S fought for all prisoners, be it Hindus or Muslims.

As forecast by S in London days, World War I broke out in August 1914. He was happy to hear that Indian troops were allowed to go to Europe to fight against the best military in the world. He was happier to see them acquaint themselves with such splendor. Seeing an opportunity for India’s progress Tilak strategically supported the militarization policy of the Indian govt. But strangely enough, Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence panted for recruiting unconditionally soldiers for the British govt. He had helped the British govt during the Boer War and received an award for his loyal services to the Empire.

The Indian revolutionaries in Europe and America decided to throw their weight into the direction of a revolt. Leaders like Lala Hardayal, V Chattopadhyaya of Abhinava Bharat were discussing plans and negotiations with Germany. With the full support of the German War Cabinet they set up in Germany the Indian Independence League called the Berlin Committee. They made global plans to smuggle lakhs of rifles and ammunition through Muslims countries and Tibet for the Ghadr Party in Punjab, Bengal and attack the eastern frontiers of India. One of the plans was to raid Port Blair and pick up S. The leaders recruited Indians abroad to fight for the independence of their motherland.

Hardayal Singh was arrested in America at the instance of the Brits, but he was released on bail and fled to Europe. As planned the German war machine began to operate. The German submarine Emden, moved into the Bay of Bengal raiding British cargo ships. Now S was strictly watched. Unfortunately on 14/11/1914, the Emden was destroyed. Thus, attempts by the French and Germans to rescue S failed.

But the revolutionaries succeeded in other plans. About 8,000 Sikh revolutionaries arrived in India from America, Canada and Far East in 1915 and situation in Punjab became tense and menacing. The 1857 War of Independence had been suppressed with the help of the Sikhs. These men wanted to wash out the stigma from history by fighting for India’s independence. They buzzed to undermine the loyalty of the Indian troops. Vishnu Ganesh Pingle was arrested with ten loaded bombs inside the line of the 12th Cavalry at Meerut and was hanged. In Bengal too leaders like M.N Roy tried hard to achieve their goal. Money received from Germany was used by revolutionaries of Bengal to have a training camp but the camp was discovered, the plot collapsed. Another plan of the Ghadr Party was to enter Burma through Thailand and then proceed to India.

Armed with extensive powers and the help of 6,000 troops from Nepal, the Brit govt suppressed the uprising. Some 5,000 men were put on trial for treason in Punjab alone. Rivers of blood flowed. Yet the leaders and historians of Gandhian persuasion keep saying that they won Independence without shedding blood. 500 men were sent to Andamans.

During the War S made efforts for his release. He made petitions and appeals to the Indian Govt that he should released with or without conditions. His wife too petitioned the Indian govt. Suprisingly none from the Indian National Congress said a word about the release of political prisoners. He wrote to the Viceroy that while they were considering the question of Reforms in India they should release all political prisoners.

The Indian govt wanted to know the views of the revolutionaries on the proposed reforms. S sent a petition to the Indian govt depicting his ideal of Human Govt. Viewed from the angle of truth, sympathy, justice, impartiality the letter revealed why Guy Aldred of Britain claimed for S a place in the line of prophets and humanists of the world. Whenever S turned introvert the philosopher in him dominated the politician and he breathed such great thoughts.

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