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About Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 


Recent comments by Congress leader on Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar have caused a furore in Maharashtra.


GS I- Important Personalities

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 
  2. Nationalism and social reforms
  3. Related Organisations and Work

About Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 

  • Period: 28 May 1883 – 26 February 1966
  • He was an Indian independence activist, politician, lawyer and writer.
  • Savarkar is a much-debated figure, as he took hardline as well as rational positions on various subjects.
  • His views on the cow being just a useful animal are cited as going against the conservative Hindutva stand.
  • His mellow attitude towards the British post his release from Andaman’s Cellular Jail are used to question his credentials as ‘veer’ (the title he used for himself, meaning brave) and as a freedom fighter.
  • But what is agreed upon beyond debate is that he was among the foremost ideologues of Hindutva, defining the term in his 1923 treatise, ‘Essentials Of Hindutva’.

Nationalism and social reforms:

  • Savarkar formed a youth organization known as Mitra Mela, this organization was put into place to bring in national and revolutionary ideas.
  • He was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi. In 1905, he burnt all the foreign goods in a bonfire on Dussehra.
  • He championed atheism and rationality and also disapproved orthodox Hindu belief. In fact, he even dismissed cow worship as superstitious.
  • He also worked on abolishment of untouchability in Ratnagiri. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar also compared his work to Lord Buddha.
  • In Pune, Savarkar founded the “Abhinav Bharat Society”.
  • He was also involved in the Swadeshi movement and later joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party. His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed the British Government. As a result, the British Government withdrew his B.A. degree.
  • He founded the Free India Society. The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to furthering discussion about Indian freedom.
  • He believed and advocated the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of Indians in England, equipped with weapons.

Related Organisations and Work:

  • Founded a secret society called Abhinav Bharat Society.
  • Went to the United Kingdom and was involved with organizations such as India House and the Free India Society.
  • Involved in the formation of Hindu Mahasabha.
  • He was the president of Hindu Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943.
  • Savarkar wrote a book titled ‘The History of the War of Indian Independence’ in which he wrote about the guerilla warfare tricks used in 1857 Sepoy Mutiny.
  • He also wrote the book ‘Hindutva: who is hindu?’.
Abhinav Bharat Society (Young India Society)
  • It was a secret society founded by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his brother Ganesh Damodar Savarkar in 1904.
  • Initially founded at Nasik as Mitra Mela, the society was associated with several revolutionaries and political activists with branches in various parts of India and London.
Hindu Mahasabha
  • It was a political party formed in 1933.
  • It was founded by Veer Damodar Savarkar, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malviya.
  • The organisation was formed to protect the rights of the Hindu community, after the formation of the All India Muslim League in 1906 and the British India government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909.
Free India Society
  • It was a political organization of Indian students in England, committed to obtaining the independence of India from British rule.
  • Initially an intellectual group, it became a revolutionary outfit under its founding leader, Madam Bhikaji Cama.

-Source: Indian Express

March 2024