Born: May 28, 1883
Died: February 26, 1966
Achievements: Founded the Abhinav Bharat Society and Free India
Society; brought out an authentic informative researched work on The
Great Indian Revolt of 1857 called "The Indian War of Independence
1857"; founded Hindu Mahasabha.
Veer Savarkar occupies a unique place in the history of Indian freedom
struggle. His name evokes controversy. While some consider him as one of
the greatest revolutionaries in the Indian freedom struggle, others
consider him a communalist and Machiavellian manipulator. Vir Savarkar
was also a great orator, prolific writer, historian, poet, philosopher
and social worker. He was an extraordinary Hindu scholar. He coined
Indian words for telephone, photography, the parliament, among others.
Veer Savarkars original name was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He was born
on May 28, 1883 in the village of Bhagur near Nasik. He was one among
four children born to Damodarpant Savarkar and Radhabai. Veer Savarkar
had his initial education at the Shivaji School, Nasik. He lost his
mother when he was only nine. Savarkar was a born rebel. He organized a
gang of kids ,Vanarsena when he was just eleven.
During his high school days, Veer Savarkar used to organize Shivaji
Utsav and Ganesh Utsav, started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (whom Savarkar
considered as his Guru) and used these occasions to put up plays on
nationalistic themes. Savarkar lost his father during the plague of
1899. In March 1901, he married Yamunabai. Post marriage, in 1902, Veer
Savarkar joined Fergusson College in Pune.
In Pune, Savarkar founded the Abhinav Bharat Society. He
was also involved in the Swadeshi movement and later joined Tilaks
Swaraj Party. His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed
the British Government. As a result the British Government withdrew his
In June 1906, Veer Savarkar, left for London to become Barrister.
However, once in London, he united and inflamed the Indian students in
England against British rule in India. He founded the Free India
Society. The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar
including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to
furthering discussion about Indian freedom. He believed and advocated
the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of
Indians in England, equipped with weapons.
In 1908, brought out an authentic informative researched work on The
Great Indian Revolt, which the British termed as "Sepoy Mutiny"
of 1857. The book was called "The Indian War of Independence 1857".
The British government immediately enforced a ban on the publication in
both Britain and India. Later, it was published by Madame Bhikaiji Cama
in Holland, and was smuggled into India to reach revolutionaries working
across the country against British rule.
In 1909, Madanlal Dhingra, a keen follower of Savarkar shot Sir Wyllie
after a failed assassination attempt on the then Viceroy, Lord Curzon.
Savarkar conspicuously did not condemn the act. When the then British
Collector of Nasik, A.M.T. Jackson was shot by a youth, Veer Savarkar
finally fell under the net of the British authorities. He was implicated
in the murder citing his connections with India House. Savarkar was
arrested in London on March 13, 1910 and sent to India.
After a formal trial, Savarkar was charged with serious offences of
illegal transportation of weapons, provocative speeches and sedition and
was sentenced to 50 years' of jail and deported to the Kalapani
(Blackwaters) at Andaman cellular jail.
In 1920, many prominent freedom fighters including Vithalbhai Patel,
Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded the release of Savarkar.
On May 2, 1921, Savarkar was moved to Ratnagiri jail, and from there to
the Yeravada jail. In Ratnagiri jail Savarkar wrote the book 'Hindutva'.
On January 6, 1924 he was h freed under the condition that he would not
leave Ratnagiri district and abstain from political activity for the
next five years. On his release, Veer Savarkar founded the Ratnagiri
Hindu Sabha on January 23, 1924 that aimed to preserve India's ancient
culture and work for social welfare.
Later Savarkar joined Tilak's Swaraj Party and founded the Hindu
Mahasabha as a separate political party. He was elected President of the
Mahasabha and toiled for building Hindu Nationalism and later joined the
Quit India movement.
The Hindu Mahasabha opposed creation of Pakistan, and took exception to
Gandhi's continued Muslim appeasement stances. Nathuram Godse, a
volunteer of the Hindu Mahasabha, assassinated Gandhi in 1948 and upheld
his actions till his hanging. Veer Savarkar was arrested and indicted by
the Government of India in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case. But he
was acquitted by the Supreme Court of India, for reasons of lack of
Veer Savarkar died on February 26, 1966 at the age of 83.