The role of revolutionaries in the freedom struggle had a huge significance. During the late 19th century several revolutionaries emerged in various regions of the subcontinent which challenged the Raj and its oppressive rule through violent acts.
These acts include the assassination of famous British personalities, attacking important British institutes, boycotting British goods, etc.
One of the important revolutionaries who emerged around the late 19th century was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar popularly known as Veer Savarkar. The man who propounded the philosophy of Hindutva formed secret organizations like the Abhinav Bharat Society, worked for the abolishment of untouchability, worked with Hindu Mahasabha, and also led several attempts to assassinate key British officials.
The name of Savarkar is counted among the most remarkable Indian revolutionaries of the Indian freedom struggle.
Early Life: From Vinayak Damodar to Veer Savarkar
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was born on 28 May 1883 at Nasik. He was a Chitpavan Brahman and although he lost his parents at an early life he stayed and remained focused towards his goal under the guidance of his elder brother Ganesh Savarkar.
At the age of only 12 Savarkar got the title of Veer. The story behind this title is very astonishing. It is believed a group of Muslim mobs attacked his village and were ransacking everything. Amid this chaos, young Savarkar led a group of friends and attacked the rioters. The attack was so fierce that the mob was forced to retreat. Due to this audacious move, Savarkar was given the title of Veer and from that day he was known as Veer Savarkar.
Education and Exhibition of Revolutionary Activities
At the age of 19 Savarkar enrolled himself in the famous Fergusson College. It was during his college days when Veer Savarkar started his work for the freedom of Bharatvarsh.
He was inspired by the famous Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini’s heroics and leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
In 1899 the Savarkar brother founded a secret society called Mitra Mela. The society greatly influenced young nationalists and later they planned to overthrow the British Raj through armed revolution.
In 1904 Veer Savarkar renamed Mitra Mela as Abhinav Bharat Society on the lines of Mazzini’s Young Italy. After completing his graduation from Fergusson College Savarkar went to London and came in contact with another revolutionary Shyamji Krishna Varma and his famous India House which became the center of Indian revolutionaries in London.
Later on, he founded Free India Society with the aim of carrying the guerrilla warfare tactics against the British Raj. Inspired by the tactics of the Russian revolutionaries Veer Savarkar learned the art of bomb-making and studied revolutionary methods from them.
When the British government passed the Minto Morley reform of 1909 Veer Savarkar decided to launch an armed insurrection against the British Raj. For this reason, he got arrested in 1909 and the government imposed a charge of conspiracy on him.
Role in the Assassination of British Officials
Savarkar through his secret organizations attracted young nationalists who were well aware of the tyranny and the oppressive rule of the Raj and its policies.
Madan Lal Dhingra was a staunch follower of the Savarkar brothers and while pursuing his studies he developed enormous resentment and anger towards the alien rule of the Raj.
On 1st July 1909 inspired by the nationalistic and patriotic speeches of Savarkar Madan Lal Dhingra shot Col.William Curzon Wyllie political aide de camp to the secretary of State for India in London.
It is believed that the revolver which Madam Lal used in this assassination was provided by Veer Savarkar to the former. After the assassination, Madam Lal was hanged and became the unforgettable martyr of Maa Bharti.
Nasik Conspiracy Case
Anant Kanhare 17-year-old youngster and a disciple of the Savarkar brothers killed the district Magistrate of Nasik AMT Jackson on 21 December 1909. Here again, Veer Savarkar provided the Browning pistol to Anant Kanhare and after a thorough investigation, the Savarkar was sentenced to life imprisonment and was sent to Andaman.
Imprisonment and the Ideology of Hindutva
While in prison Savarkar wrote his famous work Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? He was the first one who coined the term Hindutva and generated the idea of Akhand Bharat.
The idea of Hindutva focused on the Hindu identity and describe Hindus as the patriotic citizens of Bharatvarsha. Furthermore, according to him, there were three principles of Hindutva namely common nation, common race or jati, and common culture or Sanskriti.
Savarkar was released from jail in the year 1924 under the strict watch of the Police and the British. It was in 1937 when the restriction on Savarkar was removed by the Police.
Later he became the president of Hindu Mahasabha in 1937 and remained its president till 1943. During the Second World War Savarkar supported the British war efforts with the aim of providing military training to the Hindus.
To this day the story of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar inspires millions of Indians. He wholeheartedly supports anti-British movements like the Swadeshi and Boycott movements.
He was the first one who declared the Revolt of 1857 as the first war of Indian Independence. He authored the book named as The Indian War of Independence 1857 in which he highlighted the tyrannical and unjust rule of the British Raj.
Other works of Veer Savarkar: Transportation For Life: Kale Pani, Gandhi Gondal (Gandhi’s Confusion). Furthermore, he motivated young nationalists to support the cause of the freedom movement and helped in the assassination of popular British officials.
Apart from his role in the revolutionary activities Savarkar also worked for the abolishment of untouchability.
To honor the efforts of Veer Savarkar the government of India renamed the Port Blair airport at Andaman and Nicobar Islands as Veer Savarkar International Airport.
LIKE WHAT WE ARE DOING? DONATE TO DHARMAYUDH
If you support what we are doing and would like to contribute to help us grow and reach more Indians to teach them more about such forgotten historic Indian Heroes and stories, please consider donating any amount. It will help us grow.