Part 3-Savarkar : Pune to London
To Read Part 2 : Savarkar : The Journey Begins
In the previous article, we focused on how Vinayak spent his childhood, how Vinayak turned to be a freedom fighter? What triggered his thoughts and actions to establish 'Mitra Mela' though he was a teenager? At that time and who inspired him for the same?
Let's see what happens next. In 1901, Vinayak married a girl named Yamuna Chiplunkar in Nashik. Later he stayed in Nashik for a year and passed the matriculation examination. Now for further education, Savarkar left Nashik in 1902 and entered Fergusson College in Pune. Pune in 1902 was the center of Indian politics. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, also known as Lokmanya Tilak from Pune, who is one of the trios of Lal-Bal-Pal (Lala Lajpatrai-Bal Gangadhar Tilak-Bipinchandra Pal) who led the freedom struggle. Therefore, As an effect, the agony of the freedom struggle in Pune was quite different which proved to be perfect for Vinayak's urge of Indian freedom. Lokmanya Tilak, Shivrampant Paranjape, and of course Martyr Chaphekar brothers were the mere attractions and inspirations for him.
Originally Vinayak was a profound reader and his reading widened even more in Pune. The native Marathi reader turned out to be a rigorous reader of English books. Once someone provoked Vinayak about his role in the Indian freedom struggle and said that, ‘He would never be able to achieve it as the mighty empires can't be conquered as the sun never sets.’ To this Savarkar answered,
‘Mighty, supreme, and powerful things in the world are scattered and destroyed in minutes...Nothing in this world is permanent.’ …..(Translation of Marathi Poem ‘Vishwast Aajvar Shashvat Kay Zale’ by V.D.Savarkar)
With this intensity, the foundation of the freedom struggle was gradually solidifying. While in Fergusson College, Vinayak read the biography of 'Giuseppe Mazzini' and Vinayak was inspired and his thinking was changed. But who exactly is the ‘Mazzini’? Who is making such a transformation in thoughts of Vinayak? Exactly what Mazzini did?
‘Mazzini’ was an Italian freedom fighter. The originator of the Italian freedom struggle. During the 1800s, Italy was under French rule. At that time, Mazzini had alone founded the secret organization and gradually expanded the organization to gain independence from France. This is a very exciting history of Italy. Vinayak thought that 'If I would be a 'Mazzini' of India. There is nothing more meaningful in life than that.’
Vinayak did not like the original name of his secret revolutionary organization 'Mitra Mela' at all. He had given this name at the urging of some of his comrades. But now he had read 'Mazzini', his thinking had become more aggressive about freedom. Just as Mazzini had a secret revolutionary organization called 'Young Italy'. Savarkar also changed the name of his secret revolutionary organization from 'Mitra Mela' to 'Abhinav Bharat'.
Vinayak was now slowly becoming active in the politics of Pune. He was conducting college student's meetings. One year on the day of Dussehra, Savarkar, in the presence of Lokmanya Tilak and Shivram Pant Paranjape, the editor of 'Kaal' magazine, lit the first Holi of clothes from the British empire in India and chanted the slogan of ‘Swadeshi’.
Of course, this was not expected to have a direct effect on British trade. But all the Anglo-Indian newspapers started asking the government, ‘Whether the government was paying attention to what was going on in Pune’. The news spread like wildfire.
As a result, Savarkar was fined Rs 10 from the college and asked to leave the hostel immediately. Tilak slammed Ferguson's principal and wrote an editorial in Marathi saying, "He amche guruch navhet (This is not our Guru.)."
In 1906 Savarkar came to Mumbai for Second L.L.B. He was also active in politics here. His meetings were held in the Girgaum area of Mumbai. He had completed his L.L.B in Mumbai. If he wants to be Barrister, he has to go to London. But he didn't have enough money. He can't afford to go to London? But Savarkar had heard about Shamji Krishn Verma's 'Indian Sociologist' in London. Shyamji Krishn Verma used to give scholarships to selected students for their higher education. Savarkar applied for it and for that Lokmanya Tilak himself had sent a letter of recommendation. Therefore, Savarkar got this scholarship of Rupees 2000, even Lokmanya Tilak had also given 400 Rupees to Savarkar.
On June 19, 1906, Savarkar left for England in a ship named 'Persia'. But Vinayak, who was so strong and brave, had been sad while boarding the boat. It was the result of the separation of the elder brother, sister-in-law, wife, and their youngest son. The man who went to England at that time used to come back in about 3-4 years. But Vinayak doubted if I could come back or not? Because generally everyone goes to England with higher education, either to get a government job or to settle there. But the 23-year-old Vinayak's intentions were different. The Barrister was merely an excuse to carry out a revolutionary operation in an enemy camp in London. Staying in London and fighting against the British was like fighting to the death. So Vinayak was a bit skeptical about how far it would be possible to come back.
Savarkar had left his homeland for the first time to go to some other country. The customs and mannerisms of London were all new to him. Savarkar even boarded the ship wearing Indian attire i.e. Dhoti-Kurta etc. All the surrounding faces are also unfamiliar. But Savarkar's personality was so attractive that it would impress anyone. So, in a short time, he impressed many people on the ship as well. It was here that Savarkar met Harnam Singh, whom we know as Madanlal Dhingra, and other congregations were introduced. They were already overwhelmed by Savarkar's personality. Therefore, until they came to London, they had taken the pledge of Savarkar's secret revolutionary organization 'Abhinav Bharat'.
The ‘Persia’ ship came from there through the Suez Canal to Marseille in France. Marseille is a religious place for revolutionaries. It was here during his aspiring period that Mazzini carried out revolutionary actions for the independence of Italy. The name 'Marseille' was to be remembered forever in Savarkar's later life. Savarkar never imagined that a very important event in his life would take place in Marseilles. Because it had four more years to happen. People traveling to London where to travel by train from Marseille to London. For that, Savarkar left ‘Persia’ and arrived in London on July 3, 1906.
On 19 June Savarkar left Mumbai. Five days later, the Mumbai government's Special Department of Pune wrote a letter to the ‘India Office’ informing them to, ‘Keep an eye on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’.
From now on, history would get a different twist. The Special Department of the Mumbai Government had informed the British government as a precaution. But the ‘India Office’ in London did not yet understand its seriousness. But in a few days this sweet misunderstanding was going to go away and he had become a well known personality in London.
We will see the story of Savarkar's revolutionary activities in London in the next article.