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Part 8 -Savarkar : Where is 'Emden' ?

To Read Part 7: Savarkar : Hell Persecution At Cellular Jail

In the last article we have seen Savarkar was been tortured in the Cellular Jail so that he called for a strike not only for himself but also for the other prisoners. To the effect the home minister of India had visited Andaman to resolve the issue.

Inspite of the torture at Andaman, patriotism was not reduced but it was sharpened. Because the vow was not taken blindly. Savarkar was aware of the torturous life. It was not a blind act but a thoughtful one. He had thrown himself into the sacred fire of patriotism.

The first world war had started and the word ‘Emden’ was heard all over the jail. What was it ? Champakarman Pilley, Savarkar's follower and a member of ‘Abhinav Bharat’, had gone to Germany before the outbreak of the first world war. He had a treaty with the German Naval force to rescue Savarkar from Andaman.He successfully convinced them that if they want a revolutionary change in India , Savarkar should be released. The Emden, a submarine, had entered the bay of Bengal for the same purpose. But the British naval force was successful in drowning the ship. So the plan failed.

An army regiment of Seekh soldiers was arrested and was sent to Andaman for their revolutionary act.The Seekh army men were very happy to see Savarkar and stated that he was the only inspiration behind their act. They further stated that they have read his book ‘Indian War of Independence 1857’ and they got the courage and were inspired. Savarkar was really happy to know the effect of his write up.

It was 1916. The mal nutritious food at Andaman had affected his health. He started bleeding. The digestive system had collapsed. He had a mild fever. He was not able to eat and digest wheat chapati so he started having only rice and dal. Furthermore he could not even digest dal and his meal was reduced to rice and water.

In 1919, Savarkar was allowed to meet his family and so his wife Yamuna, younger brother Narayan and his wife visited Andaman on 30th May 1919. But Yesu Vahini , the wife of Ganesh Savarkar had not come. So Savarkar enquired about Yesu bai. Narayan informed them about her sad demise and he further stated that Yesu bai passed away and the very next day they got permission to visit Andaman. Both the brothers were thunderstruck to hear the news. Ganeah had lost his wife and Vinayak had lost his sister in law and a friend as well.

The family was meeting after 15 years but could not share much as the British Sergeant was accompanying them. The situation was heart melting.

The treaty of the unconditional rescue of Savarkar brothers was sanctioned and submitted to the British government by the Indian Congress Committee in 1920. To the effect he was released from the tortures of hand shackles after 9 years and he was given some clerical work. The pressure to release him from the prison was rising in India day by day. It was very difficult for the British government to keep him in the confinement at Andaman so both the brothers were moved from Andaman on 2nd May 1921. Many people had gathered on both the sides of the road at Andaman to bid them good luck. Many people honoured him with the garlands of Champa flower even though they were charged by the police.People were not afraid of the police but were eager to bid good bye to the Savarkar brothers.

The ship, ‘Maharaja’, was ready for the return journey. They were first taken to Calcutta. Both the brothers were sharing the space after years together. They discussed and shared their views about the developments, happenings at London, Nasik etc. Both were taken to Alipur from Calcutta. But unfortunately they departed at Alipur once again. Vinayak Savarkar was then taken to Mumbai by rail ways and then to Ratnagiri by a ship. How and where his brother, Ganesh, was taken by the British government was not disclosed to anyone.

A complete cell of the prison was vacated by the British government for Vinayak Savarkar at the jail in Ratnagiri. The dive at Marseilles was unforgettable to the British government. Savarkar wrote ‘Mazi Janmathep’ (My Imprisonment) in the prison of Ratnagiri. No facilities like paper, pen etc are given, so he wrote it on the walls of the prison with a piece of red brick. He described the experience at Andaman as the hell on the earth. The protest in India against his arrest had been rising at that time. It was difficult for the British government to keep him imprisoned.

So he was shifted to Yerwada jail in Pune. After some days the government put forth a condition ' If you are ready to live a simple life at Ratnagiri without getting involved in the political affairs for the next five years you will be released.'

Savarkar grabbed the opportunity thinking that it would be better to serve the country by at least getting involved in the movement of social reforms. Somehow he wanted to serve the country so he chose the path of social reforms and left politics for some years. So he agreed with the government and was released on 6th January 1924. But he was sure that it was temporary and he knew that he had to visit the prison many more times in his life.

The whole family was united after 18 years but they all were missing Yesu vahini . At last the torturous life, the struggle ended.

How and why did one spend 18 years of his life in the prison for nation building? What was his motivation, How did he endure? The answer lies in his own poetry,

Tolerating the deadly tortures

Is my duty and value

I'm ready to face the dreadfulness

For my country

Now he was in Ratnagiri. Though he was away from the political activities , social reforms in India was his only motive at that time. He spent his years for the social revolution.

We will discuss his social revolution in the next article.

- Apoorv Shriniwas Kulkarni

To Read Part 9: Savarkar : Engaged In Social Reforms

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