Veer Savarkar: An immortal patriot
Vinod Anand | 06 Jun 2012

In England, in the year 1904, a great revolutionary, Shyamji Krishna Verma announced a scholarship for those students who would study in London and would take a pledge that they would not serve for the British Government in India, but work for the liberation of the country. I

IN 1905, Shyamji Krishna Verma announced the opening of India House at London. India House was like an 'ashram' where the Indian students studying at London used to discuss about the independence of the country and later followed the decisions taken there. With the help of Lokmanya Tilak, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar got this scholarship and went to London in the year 1907. It was for studying law. He took inspiration from Shyamji and devoted his whole life for the country.

Veer Savarkar was one of the greatest men in the revolutionary movement of India. He was born on 28 May, 1883, in the district of Nasik in Maharashtra. He had three brothers and all of them were devoted to the freedom struggle of the country. Savarkar took his B.A. degree in 1905. He was very much affected by the hangings of Chapekar brothers. He took an oath in his childhood that he will work for the armed revolution in the country until it is freed from foreign bondage. In his school days he had formed an organization, which was called 'Group of Patriotic People.' The code word for this organization was Ram Han?. On 1 January 1900, he had found another group known as 'Mitra Mela'.

The main aim of this organization was to free the country from English people, as far as possible by peaceful means, otherwise by force. The followers of this organization took interest in Ganesh Pujan and Shivaji festival and through this they spread the message of revolution to the people. Shivaji was the ideal man for Savarkar. He considered him a great patriot. In 1905 'Mitra Mela' organized a convention in which about two hundred revolutionaries participated. Savarkar took inspiration from Italy and changed the name of the organization to 'Tarun Bharat'. When he took admission to Ferguson College of Poona he was impressed by Lokmanya Tilak and burnt 'holi' of foreign clothes. The elder brother of Savarkar, also a famous revolutionary, was arrested while smuggling a parcel of automatic pistols.

He was sentenced to 'Kalapani' (life imprisonment) for writing patriotic poems and giving patriotic speeches. During his stay in London Savarkar came in contact with famous revolutionaries like Lala Hardayal and Madan Lal Dhingra. Inspired by Savarkar, Madan Lal Dhingra killed Curzon Woyali in London. To condemn the act of Madan lal Dhingra, a meeting was organized in Kanningston Hall. When the resolution was being passed unanimously against Dhingra. Savarkar stood up and opposed the motion. At once an Englishman stood up and attacked Savarkar and broke his spectacles. Blood was flowing from his nose.

Another Indian present there could not bear this insult and attacked the Englishman with a stick. Pandemonium prevailed and the resolution could not be adopted. The meeting ended in a fiasco. Savarkar was also famous as a writer. He wrote several articles in which he advocated Indian nationalism. He decided to celebrate the golden jubilee of the first Indian Revolutionary Movement of 1857, in the year 1907. In this celebration doctors, barristers, editors, professors, businessmen etc. participated. The ensuing meeting, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani Laxmi Bai, Nana Sahib and other revolutionaries were remembered and tributes were paid to them. Subsequently, every year 10 May was celebrated as Independence Day at India House. In the seminars there subjects like how to make bombs were discussed. When Shyamji left for Paris the deliberations of India House and ?Indian Sociology? were looked after by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. While at India Rouse, he produced his book 'First War of Independent India' in Marathi.

After that it was translated into English. Despite several hurdles created by the British Government, it was published and became very popular. The Government of India banned it, but even then it was distributed in several parts of India and was liked very much by the people. Later, it was also translated into Hindi and distributed all over the country. This was the first book about independence struggle of 1857 which was written with depth and feeling. These incidences hardened the British government's attitude towards Indians in England and divided them in two groups- one Pro-English and the other pro-Indians. When Shyamji was in Paris, Savarkar was arrested in London on a warrant issued by the Indian Government. When he was being taken to India from London by a ship Shyamji chalked out a plan to free him. When the ship passed through France, Savarkar jumped from it and reached Marseilles harbour by swimming. But the arranged taxi reached late and he had to surrender himself to French police.

The French police gave him to the British police and he was brought to India and a case was filed against him.On March 22, 1911 he was sentenced to Kala Pani, and sent to Andaman Jail. There his life was very miserable. After that he was sent to Alipur Ratnagiri.