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Part 9 -Savarkar - Engaged In Social Reforms

To Read Part 8: Savarkar : Where is 'Emden' ?

In the last article we have seen that Vinayak and Ganesh, his elder brother were sent to India because of the pressure created by the Indian people. Vinayak was incarcerated at Ratnagiri and was not allowed to cross the boundaries and was not allowed to take part in any political movement.

Vinayak Savarkar was not a commoner. He kept himself busy in some or the other activity. So he decided to participate in the socialist activities instead of the political movements.

He was not allowed to take part in politics but he was not at all away from the politics. He didn't participate openly but was working secretly. He organised a felicitation ceremony and dinner to encourage the 35 people involved in Salt Satyagraha at Dandi. One of his followers, Atmaram Ganpat Salve who had accompanied him for years, had written about him. ‘Savarkar who was actually involved in social work used to talk about armed revolution with the capable people.’

Savarkar had appointed many people secretly who used to give every news from the District head and the police department as well. So he got every minute information. These people used to provide only selected news to the government. The then District Collector, Mr. Gilligan and the police officer O'sullivan tried hard to send him back to Andaman but they could do nothing.

Savarkar used to arrange many meetings at ‘Patit Pawan Mandir’ in Ratnagiri on the occasions of birth or death anniversaries of the great people. He used to arrange but avoids taking part directly. Still everyone knew that the inspiration behind all those ceremonies was one and the only one, Vinayak Savarkar.

Senapati Bapat, Prithvi Singh Azad had been departed from the armed revolution for some time but when they both met Savarkar their view changed. They were inspired by the ideology of armed revolution. Senapati Bapat once said in his speech , ' It's impossible to turn the table without armed revolution.' For this sensational sentence Senapati Bapat was imprisoned for seven years still he did not change.

Lala Lajpat Ray was attacked by a police officer at the time of a movement against the Simon Commission. He could not bear the pain of the Lathi charge by a police officer, Sandhurst. He died on 17th November 1928 as the Lathi was charged on his Chest. Moghe, one of Savarkar's followers read the thoughts penned by Savarkar regarding the tragedy. He inspired the people. He said,' Lala Lajpat Ray had died and to stop this violence we should be ready to take revenge.' To the effect, Moghe and Vaishampayan shot an English police officer Tyler Of Lamington Road Police Station in Mumbai. After that an officer Hotson was shot by Vasudev Balvant Gogate in Pune.

In this way Savarkar was not away from the political affairs, he was secretly active. As he was incarcerated by the British Government in Ratnagiri, his financial condition was not fine. His degree was cancelled by the British Government for his participation in the freedom struggle and so he was not able to work as a Barrister. His degree of B.A. was also cancelled after 5 years for the same reason. So he was not able to work and was unable to earn a single penny. Government used to give allowances to the people who were punished for the political issues. But the government refused to give those allowances to Savarkar for many years. So for his livelihood he wrote ‘Sangeet Ushap’ and ‘Sangeet Sannyasta Khadga’, the two musical plays which are still popular and handed over to Deenanath Mangeshkar.

The Indians society at that time was divided , there was hatred in all the stratas of the society. Savarkar strove hard against this hatred. He strove hard to open the ‘Patit Pawan Mandir’ at Ratnagiri for all the casts. He used to organise dinners and get togethers in which all the people from all the casts participated. Children from all the casts were taught together at the same school. He used to distribute Tilgul and Apta leaves to every family without considering their cast. He had arranged Bhajan and Kirtan Mandal for many people who were considered as untouchables at that time. He worked hard for the unity of the Indian society.

Many people had praised Savarkar for his social work. Dr. Ambedkar once said, ' I would like to congratulate you for your contribution in social reforms. If we want to eradicate untouchability and if we want all the untouchables to be the important part of our society, we must eradicate the ‘Chatur Varna’ System completely. There are very few who are convinced for the same and I am really happy to say you are one of them.'

Prabodhankar Thakare once said, ' All Hindus should unite. If we feel the same we must eradicate the cast system even though it is tiring. So Savarkar should be praised.'

At the time of the second world war, Gandhi and Nehru were ready to help British Government unconditionally by providing soldiers. Savarkar was against the decision and he did not support it at all. Rasbihari Bose and Savarkar were in touch. Bose was working from Japan for the Indian Freedom struggle. He was very much impressed by Savarkar's literature. He wrote an article about Savarkar in Japanese language - ‘Savarkar : Rising Leader of New India: His Career and Personality’ Subhashchandra Bose met Savarkar at his home at Dadar on 22nd June 1940. They discussed for two and half hours. He suggested Subhash Babu, To flee from India and to work from Japan or Germany. He suggested to help the Indian soldiers who were captured by Italy and Germany. Furthermore he suggested to declare India as a free state and to attack British Government with the help of Japan. He told that Subhash babu was one of the few people who were capable for the same.' Subhash babu was given the same advice by Hem Ghosh when he was at Presidency Jail.

After this Subhash Babu went to Japan and Singapore and the historic ‘Azad Hind Sena’ was established.

Savarkar had vowed to work for his country and did the same. When he was kept away from the politics he worked for the social reforms and wrote many books in Marathi & English language. He was really a versatile personality.

Still he was not rewarded in free India. He was blamed many times by the Indian Government. He was blamed guilty in the Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. What was the real issue? Savarkar had suggested many reforms but nothing was implemented. We are still suffering from the same. What were the suggestions? We will discuss about it in the next article.

- Apoorv Shriniwas Kulkarni

To Read Part 10: Savarkar : The Journey To The End

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