Vinayak Damodar savarkar : The Great Indian Nationalist

~ Govind Tripathi

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar also known as “Swatanryaveer savarkar” was a great Indian independence activist as well as a politician, who is considered as “Craftsman of Nationalist Ideology”. He is amongst those rare unsung heroes of Indian national independence who has a charismatic personality to attract both his followers and rivals. His ideas of modernity, social and religious reforms, cultivation of scientific temper and promotion of technological tools in nation building are having prominence in current scenario.

Born in a Marathi Brahmin family he was politically active from his high school days when he was in Fergusson College, Pune. He and his brother founded a secret society named “Abhinav Bharat.” When he went to United
Kingdom for his Law studies, he attached himself with organizations such as “India House” and “Free India Society.”

“Craftsman of Nationalist Ideology”

He tried to fuel Indian youth with nationalism by his great oratory skills and books filled with patriotism such as “The Indian War of Independence” about the great 1857 revolt of India in which he considered 1857 revolt as buildingblock of war against British colonialism, which was later
banned by British authorities.

Arrested several times and sentenced for life two times but he never gave up inspiring Indians to get freedom for themselves. He also served as a President of The Hindu Mahasabha and endorsed the idea of “Hindu Rashtra.” In his book “Savarkar: Echoes from a forgotten past”, 1883-1924 , Vikram Sampath showed how Savarkar appealed that “ Every true Indian needs to resolve in his or her mind to absolve oneself of….. seven fetters”,which were pervaded in Indian society, that is-
 Vedoktabandi ( Exclusivity of access to Vedic literature)
 Vyavsaybandi ( Continuation of a profession by virtue on ones birth)
 Sparshbandi ( Practices of Untouchability)
 Samudrabandi (Forbidding the crossing of the seas to go to foreign lands)
 Shuddhibandi (Disallowing reconversions to Hinduism)
 Rotibandi ( The practice of Inter-caste dining)
 Betibandi (Rigidity in abolishing inter-caste marriages)
These reformist ideas were also endorsed in making the sacred book of nation i.e; The Indian Constitution by our constitution makers.

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“Swatanryaveer savarkar”

Although Savarkar and Ambedakar were two sides of single coin, but Savarkar was inspired by many ideas of Baba Saheb. Savarkar also wrote how, “ In what is construed as a ‘low caste’—the Mahars—we have had such illustrious saints like Chokha Mela and such brilliant thinkers like Dr.Ambedakar, whose piety and intellect far surpasses many a Brahmins.”He was very critical of caste based discriminations and untouchability which is evident when he said “I feel the need to rebel against caste discrimination and untouchability as much as I feel the need to fight against foreign occupation to India.”

Savarkar greatly belived in scientific reasoning over religious customs and traditions to guide oneself. He was a admirer of modern technology and suggested Indians to learn from mistakes of the west. He always believed in
innovative spirit of human mind. He was the very first political leader who demanded complete independence ( Poorna Swarajya) as ultimate goal for India, which was accepted by Congress much later in Lahore session in 1929.

He was proponent of a united India that was organic result of all its diverse cultures. He always belived in idea of inclusivity and unity. His great ideas are still relevant today which is evident from the fact that The Government of India is taking proactive measures to shape his ideas in schemes like “Ek
Bharat Shresth Bharat” etc. But it is sad to say that after contributing that much for national independence Savarkar is always pushed in “Gray zone” by his criticizers. He is often criticized to inflame the fire of Hindu Militancy and propagating the two Nations theory. But this is far from truth. Nowadays various controversies are going on around him. But apart from focusing upon the negatives we should try to learn from his positives which are far more in number than the former.

India is always indebted to such a multidimensional personality having multiple facets of a political leader, nationalist, freedom fighter, orator, poet, social reformer, historian and much more than that. At last to quote him- “Afterall there is throughout this world so far as man is concerned but a single race-The human race, kept alive by one common blood, The human blood.”

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