Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

also called Veer Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was a prominent freedom fighter. His courage earned him the title ‘Veer’ (brave) Savarkar. He founded the Free India Society which celebrated Indian festivals and important anniversaries of the Indian freedom struggle.

Savarkar was born on May 28, 1883 in a family of landlords in the village of Bhagpur near Nasik (in Maharashtra). During his youth, he formed an organization called the ‘Mitra Mela’ that encouraged young patriots to fight for independence. In his college life, Savarkar formed a group which promoted the use of Indian goods and clothes, and the boycott of foreign items. Savarkar studied law from London, but never joined the British Government service.

In 1908, Savarkar wrote ‘The History of the War of Indian Independence’. But the British banned the work. It was later published in France and Germany. This work inspired other revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Subash Chandra Bose. Falsely implicated in the murder of AMT Jackson, the British Collector of Nasik, Savarkar was arrested on March 13, 1910. Savarkar was tried and found guilty on the charges of waging war against the British and for assisting in the murder of Jackson. He was sentenced to serve 50 years in the Cellular Jail on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

During his imprisonment, Veer Svarkar managed to establish a library in the jail and educate the inmates. He was brought back to the Indian mainland on May 2, 1921, after an appeal by prominent leaders like Gandhiji, Vithalbhai Patel and Lokmanya Tilak. He was kept in the Ratnagiri Jail (in Maharashtra) until January 6, 1924. He was freed on condition that he would remain in Ratnagiri District and would abstain from politics for five years.

Savarkar founded an organization called ‘The Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha’ on January 23, 1924, which aimed at preserving India's ancient culture and work for social welfare. He promoted good will among various religious communities. He encouraged marriages among people of different religions and assisted in the liberation of the backward classes. He promoted the use of the Hindi language as the mother tongue. He wrote the ‘Hindu Padpadashashi’ and ‘My Transportation for Life’ and a collection of poems, plays and novels.

At the end of his five year confinement, Savarkar joined ‘The Swaraj Party’ and founded another party called ‘Hindu Mahasabha.’ Along with the Indian National Congress, he supported Gandhiji's Quit India movement.

After indepedence, Savarkar devoted his time in trying to establish his 'Hindi Mahasabha' among the masses. In this attempt he had to brave many storming controversies. Veer Savarkar died on February 27, 1966.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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