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VEER SAVARKAR
By Mohan Shenoy
The 135th Birth Anniversary of Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) falls on the 28th of May 2018.

His title Veer means 'valiant'. He was born on 28th May 1883. Vinayak was his first name and Damodar was his father. Savarkar was his last name but he was popularly known as Veer Savarkar.

Many of us know very little about Veer Savarkar because, all these years, the newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Indian Governments considered him a terrorist rather than an Indian fighter for independence from foreign occupation. Therefore these media deliberately failed to project him among the national heroes up until a BJP government took office in Delhi in 1999. His portrait was unveiled in the central hall of Indian Parliament in 2003 as a tribute to this great warrior of Indian Independence.

Actually he was a staunch nationalist and a gifted social worker. During his lifetime he fought for the rights of the Dalits, the women, the national language Hindi and the Devanagari script among others. He was accused of conspiracy to murder British officers and tried. He was convicted and sent to the Cellular jail of Andamans. He sacrificed his life for steering Indian people to fight for independence from the foreign yolk.

He was also accused of conspiracy in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, but the Supreme Court of India found him innocent of this charge.

Veer Savarkar belonged to the modern world. He had embraced scientific temper. He was a true secularist. He never considered the modern machines as Satanic evils bent on destroying the God's creations. He proclaimed that everything that brings happiness for men is good and all that puts obstacles in his march towards contentment as unacceptable.

He always rejected superstitious practices. He used to say that we allowed the British to destroy literally all that is Indian except our superstitions. He said that we resort to public prayers if there are earth-quakes. We will rather roll on the ground in front of a deity if a really true Indian freedom fighter fights for his life because of illness rather than find a good doctor for his treatment.
If there are attacks by the enemy on our borders we will sacrifice a goat at the nearest temple. We believe that prayers to gods will solve all problems rather than finding physical solutions to these problems.

Savarkar's life kindled the fire of freedom in the minds of young Indians in the years 1906 to 1911. He earned the Bar-at-law qualification in England but never practiced law; instead he became a revolutionary in pursuit of freedom for India. He was a prolific writer of patriotic subjects and got them published under the constant opposition from the British government. He wrote many beautiful patriotic poems also.

He worked hard to eliminate untouchability even before Mahatma Gandhiji began his Harijan campaign. He established so-called Patitpawan Mandirs (temples for the upliftment of the downtrodden) in a number of cities. He organised burning of the foreign made clothes many years before Gandhiji did.

Former Union Minister of Education late Mr. Mohammed Karim Chagla described Savarkar as a great devotee of India, and a successful son of mother India. Freedom fighters like him created an atmosphere of awakening in the minds of Indian people for leaders like Mahatma Gandhi to continue the struggle for independence.

If by any chance this great man is not given a prominent place in the history of India then it will be an imponderable disservice to our future generation.

Veer Savarkar is a shining and glorious example of a staunch revolutionary freedom fighter that lived in the first few decades of the 20th century.

Veer Savarkar died at the age of 83 on 26th February, 1966 after about 21 days of voluntary denial of food. But, by being 'mratyunjaya' (conqueror of death) he will constantly live among us Indians, and especially among the Gowda Saraswath Brahmins, because he was a Chitpavan Brahmin himself. The Chitpavan Brahmins are brothers of the GSBs.


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