Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Swatantryaveer or Veer Savarkar was born on May 28, 1883. His life was full of ups and downs and even after 51 years of his death, his teachings and writings are not explored fully. All we know is that he was a pro-independence activist who fought against British Government. Today, February 26, on his 51st death anniversary we bring to you 7 lesser known facts about the hero.
- When he was 15, he organised a youth organisation to advocate nationalist ideas.
- While pursuing his B.A from Fergusson College in Pune, he was inspired by Lokamanya Tilak’s announcement to boycott British clothes. He went a step ahead and on October 7, 1905, during Dusshera, he set up a bonfire (holi) and burnt all his foreign clothes and goods.
- He was arrested in 1909 on charges of plotting an armed revolt against the Morle-Minto reform. He tried to escape by diving in the water but was arrested as he reached the shore.
- On July 1911, Savarkar was sentenced to two life sentences i.e. 50 years in the cellular jail of Andamans, also known as Kala Pani. After mercy petitions and pressure from Indian National Congress he was shifted to Yerwada Jail in 1923 and was released in 1924 under strict conditions of not participating in politics for 5 years and barring to leave Ratnagiri district.
- Though he was not allowed to participate in politics and leave Ratnagiri, he decided to work on abolishment of untouchability in Ratnagiri. He gained 100 percent success in it within 2 years. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who was the editor of the ‘Janta’, a monthly, compared his work to Lord Buddha.
- Not one but eight works of Savarkar were banned by British government. The list includes: Mazzini –his biography in Marathi, Indian War of Independence 1857, drama Usshaap, Shraddhanand –magazine by his brother that carried his articles and his biography by GP Parchure, among others.
- In 1964, Savarkar felt his goal of Independence India is achieved and it was time to leave. So he declared his wish to attain Samadhi and started hunger-strike on February 1, 1966 and passed away on February 26, 1966.