Part 6 -Savarkar: Way To Dreaded Andaman
To Read Part 5: Savarkar : Journey Towards Life Imprisonment
In the last article, we saw that Vinayak Savarkar was arrested and sentenced to two successive life imprisonments of a total of 50 years for treason and for supporting Jackson's murder. It started on 24th December 1910 from the prison of Dongari.
He was aware of life imprisonment when he was arrested in London and he was sure to be hanged when his plan to flee at Marseilles failed. But he was sentenced to two successive life imprisonments. This was the very first incident in world history.
At Dongari he was given the prisoner's rough and thick clothes. He was not allowed to ask for any concession like other prisoners as the British government was scared of him. A daily task was mandatory for every prisoner. Savarkar was given the tiresome work of beating coconut stalks. Instead of penning his thoughts in prose or poetry, his hands were busy in beating stalks. Blood oozing from the hands because of the pressure of beating at the end of the day was the effect. To beat the stalks at day time and to face the seclusion at night was his daily routine. He was not even allowed to talk or to read. Solitude was his friend then. He was experiencing the death in disguise.
Once he was taken to the head by the Sergeant. To go out of his prison was the thing of joy for him so he came out happily but was shocked and listless to see his wife the Yamuna and her brother. They were meeting after 5 years. Both were perplexed. There was much to express but the words refused to come out. Their welled up eyes were enough to feel the words. Savarkar convinced the Yamuna to be patient. ‘God will unite us if he wishes. you might feel the pain of unfulfilled family life but remember birds tie straws to nest as well but our togetherness is far more than that. We have thrown our material pleasures away but many more would be benefited. People of our country might experience golden moments.’
They both were engrossed in the discussion then suddenly the Sergeant shouted to end the conversation. Savarkar then returned to his prison with the tears welled up.
He was then taken to Byculla and then to Thane. A part of the prison was vacated at the Thane Jail. All the prisoners were collectively sent to Andaman from the Thane jail. Narayanrao, Savarkar's younger brother was also under arrest at Thane jail but both could not meet.
And at last, the ‘Challan’ arrived, ‘Challan’ meant to collect all prisoners for ‘Kala Pani’, to travel through it was literally horrible. All the prisoners were taken to Andaman together. The medical was done and Savarkar entered the ‘Challan’ with his bed in arms, a plate, and bowl in hands and with the shackles in feet. The Challan was to travel to Madras by railways. Savarkar was sent in a specially armed train wagon. The experience at Marseilles was unforgettable for the British government. Some Englishmen couldn't resist themselves to show a glimpse of this great hero to their families because of his unparreral dive at Marseilles.
The ‘Challan’ entered Madras. The next journey was through the sea. A ship named ‘Maharaja’ was used for this purpose. To enter the ship ‘Maharaja’ was just to enter bier. The ship was really a carrier to the hale. 50 to 60 prisoners were to occupy the place meant for 25 people. In that suffocating atmosphere, a big barrel was placed for toiletries. Everything there was worse than the hale.
At last, the ship anchored at Andaman. All the prisoners were taken to the Cellular Jail. They were counted at the main entrance and the door was closed. For Savarkar, it was to be opened after 50 years.
The jailor of the cellular jail was cruel Barry, an Irish man. Even the rule regarding the bath was also very disgusting. They were given only three bowls of saltwater for the bath.
Savarkar was kept in room number 42 of the 7th apartment. The whole apartment was emptied to keep Savarkar away from all others.
The British people from Andaman flocked with their families to have a glance at this great hero at cellular jail.
Ganesh Savarkar, his elder brother was also there for his punishment. But the two could not meet as it was against the laws of the Jail. Ganesh Savarkar was totally unaware of Vinayak's arrest and arrival to Andaman.
But a policeman at Andaman was very kind to Savarkar. At the time of counting, he placed Savarkar at a perfect place from where he could see his brother. The two didn't recognize each other at first as they were meeting after 5 to 6 years. Ganesh Savarkar collapsed to see Vinayak at Andaman. Both wanted to talk but it was impossible. But words were not called for communication, they could read each other's eyes.
The punishment was started but he was not a commoner. How would he be at peace? He was forced inhumanly to run the wheel of the oil forming machine. But he was a man of iron will to use the wall as a paper and a thorn as a pen to write ‘Kamala’, an epic Anthology.
Be with us to experience his thrilling deeds in the next week.