Life story of Veer Savarkar

Social Revolution

In January 1924, through Babarao Savarkar’s influence and attempts, the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha was established with the blessings of S. The main purpose of the Sabha was to organize, consolidate and unite the Hindus into one organic whole and enable them to oppose effectively any unjust aggression, thus while protecting their own cultural, religious and economic rights, the Hindus were to strive for the general welfare of mankind, universal compassion being the basic urge of Hinduism.

The first event that took place in the history of the party was the visit to Ratnagiri of Shankaracharya in May 24, during the Shivaji festival. But plague broke out around this time forcing S to shift to Nasik, a city with which he had old associations. He received a warm welcome and was presented a purse by the people there. Here he worked for the uplift of Hindu society, saved Mahar Hindus from the snare of Afghani Muslims, had tea in the house of an untouchable. The rousing reception accorded to S made the govt suspicious so they shifted him back to Ratnagiri.

On his way to Ratnagiri, he stopped over at Mumbai where he met Shaukat Ali. While admiring S’s sacrifice Shaukat Ali said he disliked S Hindu ideology and wished it be stopped. To this S asked the Muslim leader to stop his Khilafat Movement first. Shaukat Ali said that Khilafat was the breath of his nostrils. S told him that as long as there were separate organizations for Muslims and they converted Hindus, the Hindu Sanghatan movement would go on unabated. Then Shaukat Ali asked S to mend his ways or be left to his fate. Then Shaukat told S that Muslims would leave India. O quite freely said S. Unable to accept a loss Shaukat Ali said that he was a giant and S a dwarf. S said “I am not disinclined to accept your challenge. You know Shivaji was also a dwarf before the giant Afzulkhan. Everybody knows what happened at the meeting”. S’s stay at Ratnagiri attracted several known personalities. One of them was the founder of the RSS, Dr K B Hedgewar.

Gradually S began to initiate the people into his new ideology through the Hindu Sabha. Afire with this strength Hindus of Ratnagiri began to worship strength, consolidation and unity. This upset the Gandhian pro-Muslim followers. For the defence of their national and natural rights, they would use the lathi and if necessary, fire power too. In 1927 the question of playing music against a mosque came up. Music is played before mosque in Muslim countries without any objection. Islam does not insist on the slaughter of the cow yet it is done to humiliate the Hindus. Anyway amidst great tension and excitement, the Hindus took out their procession through the mosque. The authorities refused to support the Muslims. Soon thereafter the Muslims carried placards declaring their opposition to Swaraj. On the occasion of Dasarha, S distributed gold leaves to Muslims, Christians but these feelings were never reciprocated.

Congress leaders never understood the difference between settlement and appeasement. Said Dr Ambedkar “Appeasement means to buy off the aggressor by conniving at or collaborating with him in the rape, murder and arson of innocent Hindus who happen for the moment to be the victims of pleasure. Settlement lays down the limit which no party to it can transgress”. Gandhi’s support to the Khilafat Movement and its impact on Hindu-Muslim relations, India is referred to in detail in the essay on The Khilafat Movement found under the History Section of the site.

Gandhi visited Ratnagiri that time and met S amongst others. Although they disagreed on a number of issues they continued to respect each other. Like they disagreed on the issue of Shuddhi or reconversion of Muslims to Hindus. While taking leave of S Gandhi said, “It is clear that we disagree on some problems. But I hope you have no objection to my making experiments. S replied “You know the story of the boys and frogs. You will be making an experiment at the cost of the nation”. This is was the last meeting between the two. Gandhi was now doubly sure that the faith and fire in S was unaffected by the tortures and tribulations of jail life in Andamans.

S’s first and foremost battle on the homefront was with the Hindu orthodoxy over the question of mixed caste schools. After a great deal of action including writing to the District Magistrate about it, the Magistrate said that it was due to S’ efforts that untouchable boys have been allowed to sit mixed and without distinction of caste.

The Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha converted from the middle of 1926 several persons with prescribed religious ceremonials. Later, some 200 hundred persons were saved from the clutches of non-Hindu missions. Muslims and Christians protested but none could match S’s arguments. Did not Yakub Hassan, while presenting an address to G at Madras, openly enjoin upon the Muslims to convert all the Untouchables in India to Islam?

The question of temple entry for the Untouchables cropped up in 1925. Orthodoxy made noise but they began to collapse under the weight of S’s ruthless arguments. To pull down the steel walls of orthodoxy, S started Pan Hindu Ganesh festivals in 1925. The untouchables were brought into the hall of the Vithoba temple in Ratnagiri district. Just then Dr Ambedkar started the movement for liberation of Untouchables i.e. 1924. S supported Dr’s movement completely. A Pan-Hindu band was trained. Women of Ratnagiri performed to the shock of others their Hali-Kumkum ceremony on a Pan-Hindu basis. In 1931, a magnificent Pan-Hindu temple called as Patit Pavan temple was made where all Hindus could assemble for prayers. Prohibition of one caste from dining with another was the keystone upon which the caste system rested. Not easy he organized the first dinner known as Sahabhojan. To all those who opposed he threw at their faces extracts from scriptures that sang that Lord Krishna dined with Vidura, a son born of a maiden servant.

During the year 1931, Senapati Bapat visited Ratnagiri and paid his respects to S. Another visit was that of Thakur Chandansingh, the President of the All India Gurkha League along with Hemchandra Samsher Jung, a representative of the Royal Family of Nepal. It was the first contact with Nepal. It is significant that it was the Maharashtrian leadership that viewed the importance of Nepal on the political and physical map of India. It is something that we Indians should have learnt from S.

The Thakur Gurkha leader was now deeply impressed by S. He said “I have now come to realize what Napolean must have been”. S aimed at molding the different castes of the Hindus into a classless Hindu society in which all Hindus would be equal. Another tribute was paid by Dr Ambedkar’s Janata to the effect that S’s service to the cause of the Untouchables was as decisive and great as that of Gautama Buddha himself.

Thus S had the vitality of Buddha, who fearlessly initiated the Untouchables into his fold, the virility of Shivaji, who purposefully hammered its corners that lay in his way, the vigor of Swami Dayananda, who strove to bury it, are all crystallized in the revolutionary philosophy of S whose approach to the problem was political and equitably social.

It was the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha that remembered and sent its grateful message to Nepal which was then the only independent Hindu kingdom in the world, and it appealed to her to make her stronger for sake of Hindudom. It was this Sabha that declared Nagari script and Sanskritized Hindi to be the national script and lingua franca of Hindustan.

The Sabha did lots of work in the cause of Swadeshi too. The most vociferous and effective movement was launched for the purification of Marathi language. Dictionaries of pure Marathi words to substitute Urdu and Persian words were compiled and published. The movement for purification of the language scored its triumph when Hindi with Devanagari script was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India as the lingua franca of India.

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