Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:42 am


APPENDIX I: Full Text of ‘O! Martyrs’

The battle of freedom once begun
And handed down from sire to son
Though often lost is ever won!!

Today is the 10th of May! It was on this day, that, in the ever-memorable year of 1857, the first campaign of the war of Independence was opened by you, oh martyrs, on the battlefields of India. The Motherland, awakened to the sense of her degrading slavery, unsheathed her sword, burst forth the shackles and struck the first blow for her liberty and for her honour. It was on this day that the war cry Maro Firungee Ko was raised by the throats of thousands. It was on this day that sepoys of Meerut having risen in a terrible uprising marched down to Delhi, saw the waters of the Jumna glittering in the sunshine, caught one of those historical monuments which close past epoch to introduce a new one, and had found, in a moment, a leader, a flag, and a cause, and converted the mutiny into a national and a religious war.

All honour be to you, oh Martyrs; for it was for the preservation of the honour of the race that you performed the fiery ordeal of a revolution, when the religious of the land were threatened with a forcible and sinister conversion, when the hypocrite threw off his friendly garb and stood up into the naked heinousness of a perfidious foe breaking treaties, smashing crowns forging chains, and mocking all the while our Merciful Mother for the very honesty with which she believed the pretensions of the white liar, then you, oh martyrs of 1857 awoke the Mother, inspired the Mother and for the honour of the Mother, rushed to the battlefield, terrible and tremendous, with the war cry Maro Firungee Ko on your lips, and with the sacred mantra ‘God and Hindustan’ on your banner! Well did you in rising! For otherwise although your blood might have been spared, yet the stigma of servility would have been the deeper, one more link would have been added to the cursed chain of demoralizing patience, and the world would have again contemptuously pointed to our nation saying ‘She deserves slavery, she is happy in slavery! For even in 1857, she did not raise even a finger to protect her interest and her honour!’

This day therefore, we dedicate, oh martyrs, to your inspiring memory! It was on this day that you raised a new flag to be upheld, you uttered a mission to be fulfilled, you saw a vision to be realized, you proclaimed a nation to be born!

We take up your cry, we revere your flag, we are determined to continue that fiery mission of ‘away with the foreigner’!, which you uttered, amidst the prophetic thunderings of the Revolutionary war—revolutionary, yes, it was a revolutionary war. For the war of 1857 shall not cease till the revolution arrives, striking slavery into dust, elevating liberty to the throne. Whenever a people rises for its freedom, whenever that seed of liberty gets germinated in the blood of its martyrs and whenever there remains at least one true son to avenge that blood of his fathers, there never can be an end to such a war as this. No, a Revolutionary war knows no truce save liberty or death! We, inspired by your memory, determine to continue the struggle you began in 1857, we refuse to acknowledge the armistice as a truce; we look upon the battles you fought as the battles of the first campaign—the defeat of which cannot be the defeat of the war. What? Shall the world say that India has accepted the defeat as a final one? That the blood of 1857 was shed in vain? That the sons of Ind betray their fathers’ vows? No, by Hindustan, no! The historical continuity of the Indian nation is not cut off. The war that began on the 10th of May of 1857, is not over on the 10th of May of 1908, nor shall it ever cease till a 10th of May to come, sees the destiny accomplished, sees the beautiful Ind crowned, either with the lustre of victory or with the halo of martyrdom.

But, O glorious martyrs, in this pious struggle of your sons, help! O help us by your inspiring presence! Torn in innumerable petty selves, we cannot realize the grand unity of the Mother. Whisper, then, unto us by what magic, you caught the secret of Union. How the Firungee Rule was shattered to pieces and the Swadeshi thrones were set up by the common consent of Hindus and Mahomedans. How, in the higher love of the Mother united the differences of castes and creeds, how the venerated and venerable Bahadur Shah prohibited the killing of cows throughout India, how Shrimant Nana Saheb, after the first salute of thundering cannon to the Emperor of Delhi—reserved for himself the second one! How you staggered the whole world by uniting under the banner of Mother and forced your enemies to say ‘Among the many lessons the Indian Mutiny conveys to the historian and administrator none is of greater importance than the warning that it is possible to have a revolution in which Brahmins and Shudras, Mahomedan and Hindu were united against us and that it is not safe to suppose that the peace and stability of our dominion in any great measure depends on the continent being inhibited by different races with different religious systems, for they mutually understand each other and respect and take a part in each other’s modes and ways and doings.’ Whisper unto us the nobility of such an alliance of Religion with Patriotism—the true religion which ever is on the side of patriotism, the true patriotism, which secures the freedom of religion!

And give us the marvelous energy, daring and secrecy with which you organized the mighty volcano; show us the volcanic magma that underlie the green thin crust, on which the foe is to be kept lulled into a false security; tell us how the chapatti—that fiery cross of India, flew from village to village and from valley to valley, setting the whole intellect of the nation on fire by the very vagueness of its message and then let us hear the roaring thunder with which the volcano at last burst forth, with an allshattering force, rushing, smashing, burning, and consuming into one continuous fiery flow of red hot lava flood! Within a month regiment after regiment, prince after prince, city after city, sepoys, police, zemindars, pundits, moulvis, the multiple-headed Revolution sounded its tocsin and temples and mosques resounded with the cry ‘Maro Firungee Ko!’ Away with the foreigners! Meerut rose, Delhi rose, rose Benares, Agra, Patna, Lucknow, Allahabad, Jadagerpoor, Jhansi, Banda, Indore,—from Peshawar to Calcutta and from the Narbada to the Himalayas, the volcano burst forth into a sudden, simultaneous and all-consuming conflagration!!

And then, oh martyrs, tell us the little as well as the great defects, which you found out in our people in that great experiment of yours. But above all, point out that most ruinous, nay the only material drawback in the body of the nation, which rendered all your efforts futile—the mean selfish blindness, which refuses to see its way to join the Nation’s cause. Say, that the only cause of the defeat of Hindustan was Hindustan herself; that shaking away the slumber of centuries the Mother rose to hit the foe but while her right hand was striking the Firungee dead, her left hand struck. Alas, not the enemy but her own forehead! So she staggered and fell back into an inevitable swoon of 50 years!

50 years are past, but oh restless spirits of 1857, we promise you with our heart’s blood that your Diamond Jubilee shall not pass without seeing your wishes fulfilled!! We have heard your voice and we gather courage from it. With limited means you sustained a war, not against tyranny alone but against tyranny and treachery together. The Duab and Ayodhya, making a united stand, staged a war not only against the whole of the British power but against the rest of India too; and yet you fought for three years, and yet you had well nigh snatched away the crown of Hindustan and smashed the hollow existence of the alien rule. What an encouragement this! What the Duab and Ayodhya could do in a month, the simultaneous, sudden and determined rising of the whole of Hindustan can do in a day! This hope illumines our heart and assures us of success. And so we avow that your Diamond Jubilee the year 1917 shall not pass without seeing the resurging Ind making a triumphant entry into the world!

For, the bones of Bahadur Shah are crying vengeance from their grave! For, the blood of dauntless Laxmi is boiling with indignation! For the shahid Peer Ali of Patna, when he was going to the gallows for having refused to divulge the secrets of the conspiracy, whispered defiance to the Firungee, said in prophetic words, ‘You may hang me today, you may hang such as me every day, but thousands will still rise in my place—your object will never be gained’.

Indians, these words must be fulfilled! Your blood, Oh Martyrs, shall be avenged!!!

Bande Mataram!
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:43 am

APPENDIX II: Full Text of ‘Will and Testament’, 1910


It was the month of Vaishakha: The sky above and the terrace underneath were washed and quivered in the delightful Moonlight. The dear little creeper of Jai daily fondly watered by Bal blushed and bloomed in fragrant flowers.

They were the days of summer vacation and friends and Comrades, all the dear and near ones had gathered under one roof. Fame waited upon that noble band of youths and chivalry surrounded them with a halo of transparent Purity and Young Brilliance.

Their hearts were welling up with fresh love and they breathed an atmosphere suffused with noble breezes of high aspirations and chivalrous resolves. Young and tender creepers clung there to noble and aspiring trees and the townsmen lovingly called that grateful garden a ‘Dharmshala’.

Thou served the meals; the dishes used to be juicy and inviting all the more for thy serving. The Moon was delightful above and we all friends and families sat along, now musing, now lost in stirring and stimulating conversations. Now we listened to the moving story of the Princely Exile of Ayodhya or of the stirring struggle that set Italia free. Now we sang the immortal exploits of Tanaji or of Chitore or of Baji and Bhau and Nana: the anxious analysis is that with tearful eyes recounted the causes of the downfall of our distressed Mother; the keen and watchful synthesis that planned daring schemes of Her Ultimate Deliverance; the ceaseless activity that laid bare the wounds of our Mother and sturred and roused and fired the imagination of hundreds of highly metalled youths to high resolves.

Those happy days that dear company, those moonlit nights, the romantic aspirations, the chivalrous resolves and above all the Divine Ideal that informed and inspired them all and made us take up our cross and follow it!

Dost thou remember it all? Dost thou remember the stern vows and consecrating oaths mutually administered and the hundreds of noble youths initiated into the ranks of His Forces? The youths pledging themselves to fight and fall as Baji fell—the young girls to watch, enthuse, and die as the girls of Chitore died!

Nor was it blindness that goaded us on to that Path! No! We entered in it under the full blaze of the searching light of Logic and History and Human Nature knowing full well that those who would have Life must lose it; we took up our Cross and deliberately followed Him!


Having first called to the mind those consecrating oaths and stern vows so solemnly taken by us with that band of dear comrades and chums, cast thou an eye on the Present! Not even a dozen years have rolled by: and yet so much is already accomplished! Cheerful indeed is the outlook! The whole country is roused throughout its length and breadth! She has cast off the beggar’s bowl and put Her hand on the hilt of Her sword! Stern worshippers are pouring in their thousands into His Temple and the Sacrificial Fire too has begun to rise in angry leaping flames on His altar.

The Test has come, Oh Ye! Who has taken the stern vows and pledged your solemn words to see the great sacrifice accomplished: Who is, say! Ready to fall the first victim and immolate himself in this roaring fire that Good may triumph over the forces of Evil!

No sooner did Shree Rama challenge his votaries thus than did our family. Oh, noble sister! Volunteer itself and pray ‘Here are we, Oh Lord! Honour us by sacrificing us first in those blazing flames!!’

We will work and die in defence of Righteousness—thus had we pledged our words. Behold, we enter the flames! We have kept our word!

The stern vows we took to fight under Her banner in order to win Her Freedom back even at the cost of our lives have thus been fulfilled. What a relief! Blessed indeed are we that He should have given us strength to burn down the Self in us to ashes before our very eyes. We have served the Cause and fighting fell. This was all we aimed at!


We dedicated to Thee our thoughts; our speech and our eloquence we dedicated to Thee, Oh Mother! My lyre sang of Thee alone: my pen wrote to Thee alone, Oh Mother!

It was on thy altar that I sacrificed my health and my wealth. Neither the longing looks of a young wife vainly waiting for my return nor the pearls of laughter of dear children, nor the helplessness of a sister-in-law stranded and left to starve could hold me back at the call of Thy Trumpet!

My eldest brother—so brave, so sternly resolute, and yet so oftly loving —was sacrificed on Thy altar. The youngest one—so dear, so young—he too followed him into the flames; and now here am I, Oh Mother! Bound to Thy Sacrifical Pillar! What of these! Had we been seven instead of only three I would have sacrificed them all—in thy cause!

Thy Cause is Holy! Thy Cause I believed to be the Cause of God! And in serving it I knew I served the Lord!

Thirty crorers are Her children! Those amongst them who possessed of this divine rage die in Her cause shall ever live! And our family tree, Oh Sister! Thus uprooted shall strike its roots deep and bloom immortality.


And what even if it does not bloom and like all other Mortal Things withers and gets mixed up with the dust of oblivion! We have fulfilled our pledges and strove suppressing Self to secure the Triumph of Good over Evil. To us that is enough. To us sacrifice is success.

Whatever pleased the Lord to bestow on us have we consecrated to Thee to day! And if ever it pleases Him to bestow on us ought else that too would certainly be laid at Thy feet alone!

Scanning thus Thy thoughts, discriminating thus, continue dear Vahini to uphold the traditions of our family and stand faithfully by the Cause. The divine Uma practising severe austerities in the snowclad Himalayas: the girls of Chitore with young smiles playing on their lips mounting blazing flames.

These are thy ideals! Thou art hero’s better-half! Be Thy life as supremely heroic as to prove, that, that radiant courage and spirits’ strength which the weaker sex of Hind displayed are not yet dimmed or diminished.

This is my last word to thee; my will and my testament. Good bye, dear Vahini, Good bye! Convey my best love to my wife and this:

That it was certainly not blindness that goaded us to this path! No! We entered it under the full blaze of the searching light of Logic and History and Human Nature: knowing full well that a Pilgrim’s Progress leads through the Valley of Death, we took up our Cross and deliberately followed Him!
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:43 am

APPENDIX III: Petitions by V.D. Savarkar

1. Petition from V D Savarkar (Convict No. 32778) to Reginald Craddock, Home Member of the Government of India, dated November 14, 1913

I beg to submit the following points for your kind consideration:

1. When I came here in 1911 June, I was along with the rest of the convicts of my party taken to the office of the Chief Commissioner. There I was classed as ‘D’ meaning dangerous prisoner; the rest of the convicts were not classed as ‘D’. Then I had to pass full 6 months in solitary confinement. The other convicts had not. During that time I was put on the coir pounding though my hands were bleeding. Then I was put on the oil-mill—the hardest labour in the jail. Although my conduct during all the time was exceptionally good still at the end of these six months I was not sent out of the jail; though the other convicts who came with me were. From that time to this day I have tried to keep my behaviour as good as possible.

2. When I petitioned for promotion I was told I was a special class prisoner and so could not be promoted. When any of us asked for better food or any special treatment we were told ‘You are only ordinary convicts and must eat what the rest do.’ Thus Sir, Your Honour would see that only for special disadvantages we are classed as special prisoners.

3. When the majority of the casemen were sent outside I requested for my release. But, although I had been [caned] hardly twice or thrice and some of those who were released, for a dozen and more times, still I was not released with them because I was their casemen. But when after all, the order for my release was given and when just then some of the political prisoners outside were brought into the troubles I was locked in with them because I was their casemen.

4. If I was in Indian jails I would have by this time earned much remission, could have sent more letters home, got visits. If I was a transportee pure and simple I would have by this time been released, from this jail and would have been looking forward for ticket-leave, etc. But as it is, I have neither the advantages of the Indian jail nor of this convict colony regulation; though had to undergo the disadvantages of both.

5. Therefore will your honour be pleased to put an end to this anomalous situation in which I have been placed, by either sending me to Indian jails or by treating me as a transportee just like any other prisoner. I am not asking for any preferential treatment, though I believe as a political prisoner even that could have been expected in any civilized administration in the Independent nations of the world; but only for the concessions and favour that are shown even to the most depraved of convicts and habitual criminals? This present plan of shutting me up in this jail permanently makes me quite hopeless of any possibility of sustaining life and hope. For those who are term convicts the thing is different, but Sir, I have 50 years staring me in the face! How can I pull up moral energy enough to pass them in close confinement when even those concessions which the vilest of convicts can claim to smoothen their life are denied to me? Either please to send me to Indian jail for there I would earn (a) remission; (b) would have a visit from my people come every four months for those who had unfortunately been in jail know what a blessing it is to have a sight of one’s nearest and dearest every now and then! (c) and above all a moral—though not a legal— right of being entitled to release in 14 years; (d) also more letters and other little advantages. Or if I cannot be sent to India I should be released and sent outside with a hope, like any other convicts, to visits after 5 years, getting my ticket leave and calling over my family here. If this is granted then only one grievance remains and that is that I should be held responsible only for my own faults and not of others. It is a pity that I have to ask for this—it is such a fundamental right of every human being! For as there are on the one hand, some 20 political prisoners— young, active and restless, and on the other the regulations of a convict colony, by the very nature of them reducing the liberties of thought and expression to lowest minimum possible; it is but inevitable that every now and then some one of them will be found to have contravened a regulation or two and if all be held responsible for that, as now it is actually done—very little chance of being left outside remains for me.

In the end may I remind your honour to be so good as to go through the petition for clemency, that I had sent in 1911, and to sanction it for being forwarded to the Indian Government? The latest development of the Indian politics and the conciliating policy of the government have thrown open the constitutional line once more. Now no man having the good of India and Humanity at heart will blindly step on the thorny paths, which in the excited and hopeless situation of India in 1906-1907 beguiled us from the path of peace and progress. Therefore if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government, which is the foremost condition of that progress. As long as we are in jails there cannot be real happiness and joy in hundreds and thousands of homes of His Majesty’s loyal subjects in India, for blood is thicker than water; but if we be released the people will instinctively raise a shout of joy and gratitude to the government, who knows how to forgive and correct, more than how to chastise and avenge. Moreover my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government?

Hoping your Honour will kindly take into notion these points.

2. Full text of petition submitted by V.D. Savarkar to the Chief Commissioner, Andaman Islands, October 1914:

To the Chief Commissioner,


The undersigned petitioner most humbly begs to tender the following petition, with a fervent hope that it will be forwarded to the Indian Government.

1. Ever since this world shaking war that is now being fought in Europe broke out, nothing has sent such a thrill of hope and enthusiasm in the heart of every true Indian patriot as the fact that Indians including the youth of India have been allowed to wear arms of fight against the common foe in defence of this country and the Empire. A thing which one has a right to protect is a thing in which one feels a sense of ownership; and fighting side by side with the other citizens of the Empire, the rising generation of India is sure to feel a sense of equality and therefore of a sincere loyalty to the same.

2. Believing that the ideal of all political science and practice is or ought to be one Universal State; that therefore humanity is higher patriotism, and therefore any empire that succeeds in wielding a number of conflicting races and nations in one harmonious whole without letting the growth of any one be staunched by the overshadowing domination of another, is a distinct step to the realization of that Ideal: I rejoiced to see the volunteering movement succeed and felt confident in the ultimate triumph of the far sighted and truly Imperial policy of conciliation and confidence inaugurated by Lord Hardinge’s administration. If the Government will but continue it, if the manhood of the nation be allowed to share the glories and responsibilities of the Empire with perfect equality with other citizens of it, then Indian patriots of all shades and opinions can conscientiously feel that burning sense of loyalty that one feels for one’s motherland.

3. Therefore I most humbly beg to offer myself as a volunteer to do any service in the present war, that the Indian Government think fit to demand from me, I know that a Kingdom does not depend on the help of an insignificant individual as I am, but then I know this also that every individual however insignificant, is duty bound to volunteer his or her best for the defence of that Kingdom. I also beg to submit that nothing can contribute so much as to the widening and deeping [sic] the sentiment of loyalty in the Indian people as a general release of all those prisoners who had been convicted for committing political offences in India. Such a step at such a time would dispel the illusion which the foreigners seem to be labouring under, that because the Indians fight for equal rights inside the Empire, therefore they must be eager to get rid of it altogether and worse invite others to side over them, secondly, the majority of these convicts would be staunchly attached to that power which might as it proved to chastise, would thus prove mightier still to forbear and forgive: and moreover when the Royal road of constitutional success is thrown so wide open as Lord Hardinge has done, who is so depraved or fanatical as to hang to the thorny paths of blood or crime? Above all it is but a frank truth that there cannot be a real and whole hearted sympathy felt in a thousand homes in India— however they may hate the Germans—to that power which has kept a husband or a son or a father or a friend rotting in the jail: for blood is thicker than water. But a general release will, especially at such a critical time, make such a deep impression on the grateful people of India will touch their imagination to such a degree as no amount of Durbars and fireplays after the war ends can do, It will prove beyond all evil that English and Indian sons have perfect confidence in each other as far as the Imperial defence is concerned.

4. If the Government suspect that my real intention in writing all this is only to secure my release, then I beg to submit let me not be released at all, with my exception let all the?rest be released, let the volunteer movement go on —and I will rejoice in that as if myself was allowed to play an active part. It is only through a sincere desire to see the right thing done that I have dared to write this frank and outspoken petition for your gracious consideration.

I beg, etc

V.D. Sarvakar [sic]

3. Full-text of petition from V.D. Savarkar to the Government of India, dated October 5, 1917:

His Honour, the Secretary to the Government of India
Home Department.

May it please your Honour!

Some three years ago, in 1914 I had sent a petition on the following points to the Government of India; and Lord Hardinge was pleased to let me know that it was ‘impossible’—not that the Government was unwilling, to give effect to my proposals under the then circumstances.

The war, and all that it means, had definitely and materially changed the political relations of almost all peoples and states. A new spirit has manifested itself in man and whole nations are being roused and animated by new visions and new hopes, which have found responsible and glowing expressions in the utterances of presidents of Republics and Ministers of Empires. Neither India nor the British Empire as a whole could have remained unaffected by this great democratic upheaval in the world. In them too old order of Race-domineerings and race-subjections is giving place to that of co-operation and Commonwealth. The nucleus of an Empire-cabinet; the presence in it of the ministers of the colonies and two representatives, though nominated, of India; the permission to be enrolled as volunteers to the Indian youths; the throwing open of Commissions in the army; the great speech of the Premier in which he declared that the supreme test of the British Statesmanship would depend on the extent to which it succeeds in making the millions of Indians feel—not a sense of dependence—but that of ‘real partnership’; and to crown all the most important, definite and determined declaration by the present Secretary of State, not only as to the goal but even as to its immediate, though partial, realization in Indian administration; all these facts undeniably show that henceforth the Indian government, is not only to be conducted consistently with the interest of the Indian people but that it recognizes the first principle of all progress that the party who decides what the interests are is, in the main, the people themselves. Thus the circumstances, which Lord Hardinge referred to, are or are being changed for the better.

Therefore I venture to point out that if the policy of Cooperation and Commonwealth, so successful wherever it had been pursued, is to be followed in the Indian administration, then what Durbars and fireworks can so fitly inaugurate it, as the immediate release of the Indian political prisoners? No royal manifestos and elephant processions so touch and move, not only the imagination, but also the heart of the Indian people, as the release of their kith and kin would do. Confidence can only be evoked by showing confidence. In Canada revolts and rebellions were the order of the day: a bold statesman like Lord Durham rose and showed confidence—and now the grandsons of the Leaders of those rebellions are fighting in Flanders on the British side. The Boers fought and lost the day; but the English realizing the gravity of the situation and remembering the history of America and Cape Colony, behaved as a wise conqueror should do, and gave them autonomy and the result is that though a Dewett did rebel, yet there only a Dewett to be put down and not a Botha too! Or can India be suspected of being less confiding and less generous in her response to any magnanimous and sincere dealing of the British people? History shows that the fault of India, if fault it was, had been, not that she was less but that she was too generous and too confiding. The Grant of Home Rule, if wholeheartedly conferred would make our people, and for our own interest, for more closely bound to this Empire, so long as the interest of all of us are served by and through it, than the colonies had ever been.

Secondly, I for one, and I can say the same thing of the majority of those whom I know, cannot have the slightest animosity towards an Empire simply because it is so. No; believing in as I do that the Ideal of all political science and political art is, or should be, the Human State; embracing all nations, based on perfect equality of opportunities to progress and on liberty that respects itself in others—I can have nothing but sympathy with an Empire that binding a vast portion of mankind together takes us nearer to such an Ideal as that. If India is allowed to become an autonomous partner in this commonwealth and if in the immediate future, at least a majority is secured in the Viceregal Council for Indians, then there would be some much to do to purge and cleanse our society that all our energies could be required to consolidate what we have already secured. It was no fanatical, much less an ‘anarchical’ opposition to any Empire as such but a sense— sincere and killing sense of despair to effect any substantial advance in the land when all paths to progress were barred by the ‘Trespassers would be prosecuted’—that drove us to face the dangerous by-ways of political life. When there was no Constitution, it seemed a mockery to talk of constitutional movements. But now if a constitution exists, and Home Rule is decidedly such, then so much political, social, economical and educational work is to be done and could be constitutionally done that the Government, may securely rest satisfied that none of the present political prisoners would choose to face untold suffering by resorting to underground methods for sheer amusement! So not only the release of political prisoners would evoke confidence in India by proving to them the sincerity of the British Government in inaugurating this change in the administration and the status of India in the Empire, but in addition to this immediate good it is not likely to do any harm in future too.

Thirdly, just as the only release of prisoners would not remove the roots of discontent in Indian unless it was accompanied with far reaching reforms in the state, so also no installments of those Reforms would, taken by themselves, be able to satisfy and win the heart of the people unless it was accompanied by the release of their prisoners. How can there be peace and mutual confidence and love in the land in which thousands of families are literally torn to pieces and every second home has either a brother or a son or a husband or a lover or a friend snatched away from its bosom and kept pining in the prisons? It is against human nature, for blood is thicker than water.

Fourthly, all over the world the prisons have been thrown open to those who had been pent up for the sake of political principles. Not to mention Russia, France, Ireland and Transvaal. Even Austria could not refuse amnesty to her political prisoners even while the war is still hanging heavy over her. Nor could it be said that the prisoners thus released were convicted of ‘general participation only’ for in the case of suffragists, almost all of them had been convicted of ‘individual acts’, to quote Mr. Bonar Law, including arson, and yet were released immediately after the war broke out. It could not be that a step, which had been thought beneficial in all the nations in the world should prove disastrous only in India.

Fifthly, as long as some of those whose names are rightly or wrongly, but undoubtedly revered by thousands of souls are still kept in the Jail and are looked upon as foes to the present order of things, so long the tradition of opposing authority would continue to produce its own devotees and even blind followers. But if these people go back and if even a few of them, conscientiously convinced that the good of their country was no longer in danger in co-operation with the British people, preached so and set an example to that effect, then the men who look up to them as models would also be convinced that a new day had risen and so a new start is to be made by a new path in fresh air and sunshine, leaving the gloomy adventures to the night that is past.

Sixthly, the majority of Indian prisoners are convicted in conspiracy cases, in which one has to suffer for the deeds of others in addition to one’s own, and secondly some of them have already put in 10 years or 9 or 8 and few have put in less than two years of hard, trying and dismal servitude. Many of them deserve to be, and under Indian jail systems would have already been released, on the ground of time and health alone.

For all these reasons I have ventured to put forth this petition setting forth in a frank way my own belief and expectations and I trust and hope that this would be brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for India when he visits our shores.

In conclusion, I beg to add, in all sincerity, that if the Government thinks that it is only to effect my own release that I pen this; or if my name constitutes the chief obstacle in the granting of such an amnesty then let the Government omit my name in their amnesty and release all the rest; that would give me as great a satisfaction as my own release would do. If the Government does ever take this view of the question then the amnesty should be so complete as to include those also who are exiles from India and who as long as they are proclaimed strangers in their own land are likely to be bitterly antagonistic to that Government in India but many of whom would, if allowed to come back, work for the Motherland on the open and constitutional lines, when this new and real constitution is introduced there.

Hoping that your Honour would not grudge the satisfaction of having put my case before the Secretary of State to me, was though unknown is yet in stress, a prisoner yet for the sake of a people.

I am,
our most obedient
Sd/- V.D. Savarkar
Prisoner No. 32778.

4. Full-text of petition from V.D. Savarkar to the Government of India, dated March 20, 1920:

In view of the recent statement of the Hon. Member for the Home Department to the Government of India, to the effect that ‘the Government was willing to consider the papers of any individual, and give them their best consideration if they were brought before them’; and that ‘as soon as it appeared to the Government that an individual could be released without danger to the State, the Government would extend the Royal clemency to that person,’ the undersigned most humbly begs that he should be given a last chance to submit his case, before it is too late. You, Sir, at any rate, would not grudge me this last favour of forwarding this petition to His Excellency the Viceroy of India, especially and if only to give me the satisfaction of being heard, whatever the Government decisions may be.

I. The Royal proclamation most magnanimously states that Royal clemency should be extended to all those who were found guilty of breaking the law ‘Through their eagerness for Political progress.’ The cases of me and my brother are pre-eminently of this type. Neither I nor any of my family members had anything to complain against the Government for any personal wrong due to us nor for any personal favour denied. I had a brilliant career open to me and nothing to gain and everything to loose individually by treading such dangerous paths. Suffice it to say, that no less a personage than one of the Hon’ble Members for the Home Department had said, in 1913, to me personally, ‘. . . Such education so much reading . . . you could have held the highest posts under our Government.’ If in spite of this testimony any doubts as to my motive does lurk in any one, then to him I beg to point out, that there had been no prosecution against any member of my family till this year 1909; while almost all of my activity which constituted the basis for the case, have been in the years preceding that. The prosecution, the Judges and the Rowlatt Report have all admitted that since the year 1899 to the year 1909 had been written the life of Mazzini and other books, as well organised the various societies and even the parcel of arms had been sent before the arrest of any of my brothers or before I had any personal grievance to complain of (vide Rowlatt Report pages 6 &c.). But does anyone else take the same view of our cases? Well, the monster petition that the Indian public had sent to His Majesty and that had been signed by no less than 5,000 signatures, had made a special mention of me in it. I had been denied a jury in the trial: now the jury of a whole nation has opined that only the eagerness for political progress had been the motive of all my actions and that led me to the regrettable breaking of the laws.

II. Nor can this second case of abetting murder throw me beyond the reach of the Royal clemency. For

a. The Proclamation does not make any distinction of the nature of the offence or of a section or of the Court of Justice, beyond the motive of the offence. It concerns entirely with the Motive and requires that it should be political and not personal,

b. Secondly, the Government too has already interpreted it in the same spirit and has released Barin and Hesu and others. These men had confessed that one of the objects of their conspiracy was ‘the murders of prominent Government officials’ and on their own confessions, had been guilty of sending the boys to murder magistrates, etc. This magistrate had among others prosecuted Barin’s brother Arabinda [Aurobindo] in the first ‘Bande Mataram’ newspaper case. And yet Barin was not looked upon, and rightly so, as a non-political murderer. In my respect the objection is immensely weaker. For it was justly admitted by the prosecution that I was in England, had no knowledge of the particular plot or idea of murdering Mr. Jackson and had sent the parcels of arms before the arrest of my brother and so could not have the slightest personal grudge against any particular individual officer. But Hem had actually prepared the very bomb that killed the Kennedy’s and with a full knowledge of its destination. (Rowlatt Report, page 33). Yet Hem had not been thrown out of the scope of the clemency on that ground. If Barin and others were not separately charged for specific abetting, it was only because they had already been sentenced to capital punishment in the Conspiracy case; and I was specifically charged because I was not, and again for the international facilities to have me extradited in case France got me back. Therefore I humbly submit that the Government be pleased to extend the clemency to me as they had done it to Barin and Hem whose complicity in abetting the murders of officers, etc., was confessed and much deeper. For surely a section does not matter more than the crime it contemplates. In the case of my brother this question does not arise as his case has nothing to do with any murders, etc.

III. Thus interpreting the proclamation as the Government had already done in the cases of Barin, Hem, etc. I and my brother are fully entitled to the Royal clemency ‘in the fullest measure’. But is it compatible with public safety? I submit it is entirely so. For

a. I most emphatically declare that we are not amongst ‘the microlestes of anarchism’ referred to by the Home Secretary. So far from believing in the militant school of the type that I do not contribute even to the peaceful and philosophical anarchism of a Kuropatkin [sic] or a Tolstoy. And as to my revolutionary tendencies in the past: it is not only now for the object of sharing the clemency but years before this have I informed of and written to the Government in my petitions (1918, 1914) about my firm intention to abide by the constitution and stand by it as soon as a beginning was made to frame it by Mr. Montagu. Since that the Reforms and then the Proclamation have only confirmed me in my views and recently I have publicly avowed my faith in and readiness to stand by the side of orderly and constitutional development. The danger that is threatening our country from the north at the hands of the fanatic hordes of Asia who had been the curse of India in the past when they came as foes, and who are more likely to be so in the future now that they want to come as friends, makes me convinced that every intelligent lover of India would heartily and loyally co-operate with the British people in the interests of India herself. That is why I offered myself as a volunteer in 1914 to Government when the war broke out and a German-TurkoAfghan invasion of India became imminent. Whether you believe it or not, I am sincere in expressing my earnest intention of treading the constitutional path and trying my humble best to render the hands of the British dominion a bond of love and respect and of mutual help. Such an Empire as is foreshadowed in the Proclamation, wins my hearty adherence. For verily I hate no race or creed or people simply because they are not Indians!

b. But if the Government wants a further security from me then I and my brother are perfectly willing to give a pledge of not participating in politics for a definite and reasonable period that the Government would indicate. For even without such a pledge my failing health and the sweet blessings of home that have been denied to me by myself make me so desirous of leading a quiet and retired life for years to come that nothing would induce me to dabble in active politics now.

c. This or any pledge, e.g., of remaining in a particular province or reporting our movements to the police for a definite period after our release— any such reasonable conditions meant genuinely to ensure the safety of the State would be gladly accepted by me and my brother. Ultimately, I submit, that the overwhelming majority of the very people who constitute the State which is to be kept safe from us have from Mr. Surendranath, the venerable and veteran moderate leader, to the man in the street, the press and the platform, the Hindus and the Muhammadans—from the Punjab to Madras—been clearly persistently asking for our immediate and complete release, declaring it was compatible with their safety. Nay more, declaring it was a factor in removing the very ‘sense of bitterness’ which the Proclamation aims to allay. Therefore the very object of the Proclamation would not be fulfilled and the sense of bitterness removed, I warn the public mind, until we two and those who yet remain have been made to share the magnanimous clemency.

IV. Moreover, all the objects of a sentence have been satisfied in our case. For

a. We have put in 10 to 11 years in jail, while Mr. Sanyal, who too was a lifer, was released in 4 years and the riot case lifers within a year;

b. We have done hard work, mills, oil mills and everything else that was given to us in India and here;

c. Our prison behaviour is in no way more objectionable than of those already released; they had, even in Port Blair, been suspected of a serious plot and locked up in jail again. We two, on the contrary, have to this day been under extra rigorous discipline and restrain and yet during the last six years or so there is not a single case even on ordinary disciplinary grounds against us.

V. In the end, I beg to express my gratefulness for the release of hundreds of political prisoners including those who have been released from the Andamans, and for thus partially granting my petitions of 1914 and 1918. It is not therefore too much to hope that His Excellency would release the remaining prisoners too, as they are placed on the same footing, including me and my brother. Especially so as the political situation in Maharashtra has singularly been free from any outrageous disturbances for so many years in the past. Here, however, I beg to submit that our release should not be made conditional on the behaviour of those released or of anybody else; for it would be preposterous to deny us the clemency and punish us for the fault of someone else.

VI. On all these grounds, I believe that the Government, hearing my readiness to enter into any sensible pledge and the fact that the Reforms, present and promised, joined to common danger from the north of Turko-Afghan fanatics have made me a sincere advocate of loyal co-operation in the interests of both our nations, would release me and win my personal gratitude. The brilliant prospects of my early life all but too soon blighted, have constituted so painful a source of regret to me that a release would be a new birth and would touch my heart, sensitive and submissive, to kindness so deeply as to render me personally attached and politically useful in future. For often magnanimity wins even where might fails.

Hoping that the Chief Commissioner, remembering the personal regard I ever had shown to him throughout his term and how often I had to face keen disappointment throughout that time, will not grudge me this last favour of allowing this most harmless vent to my despair and will be pleased to forward this petition—may I hope with his own recommendations?—to His Excellency the Viceroy of India.

I beg to remain,
Your most obedient servant,
(Sd.) V.D. Savarkar,
Convict no. 32778

5. Petition from V.D. Savarkar to Rufus Daniel Isaacs, Earl of Reading, Governor-General of India, dated August 19, 1921, Ratnagiri District Prison:



Convict No. 558, in RATNAGIRI DISTRICT PRISON, showeth that—

1. The petitioner, who was convicted in 1910 and transported to the Andamans in 1911, was brought back to the Indian Jails this year. He has thus put in nearly 11 years in Jail. Had he been in Indian Jails throughout these years he could have earned anything between 2 to 3 years of remission as he had been promoted to the rank of a Foreman (a first rank convict officer). So practically he had put in nearly 14 years of imprisonment, the maximum, which under the usual practice, entitles a convict’s case for being considered with reference to his conditional release.


a. Moreover the announcement of the proposed visit of His Royal Highness the PRINCE of WALES raise a strong hope in him that now at least His Excellency the Viceroy and especially His Excellency the Governor of Bombay would be pleased to forgive all that had been offensive in his past and extend to him the benefit of the amnesty so long denied to him.

b. In praying for this extension he is not asking for any new interpretation of the Royal Proclamation, as the amnesty had already been extended to cases worse than those of the petitioner; e.g. Barin Ghose who confessed to have ordered the murders and Hem Das who actually manufactured the bomb with full knowledge of its destination (vide Rowlatt Report); as well as Pyarasingh and others of the Punjab case who were charged under dacoity &c., actions technically falling outside the ‘State Offences’ but arising out of them, were released in virtue of that amnesty.

c. The petitioner begs to assure His Excellency that he is not the man he was in the days of conviction. Then he was a mere boy. Since then he has grown not only in age but also in experience; and he sincerely regrets that he should have ever been caught up in the whirlwinds of political passions and ruined the brilliant career that was already his. Ever since the visit of the Right Honourable Mr. Montague [sic] to India he [SAVARKAR] had repeatedly affirmed his faith in the Reforms and the promises made by the Government in his [SAVARKAR’s] previous petitions to the Government. The sight of the linked Asiatic Hoards, now hanging over the Frontiers and who had been an hereditary curse of India—at any rate the non-Mahomedan India—leaves him convinced that a close and even a loyal cooperation and connection with the British Empire are good and indispensable for both of them—only he prays that it may be lasting and fruitful.

d. But if anyone had been attributing any other motive to him then the petitioner begs to state that such secret reports be not relied upon in face of his frank and full above confessions of his faith. His past will bear out the fact that he is not given to own any belief he does not contribute to. Men over zealous or over anxious to please the Government enraged at their own past misdeeds had always been making the petitioner a scapegoat by attributing to him words or acts without any foundation.

e. But to disarm any suspicion that may yet linger in the Government Quarters, the petitioner begs to solemnly pledge his word of honour that he shall cease to take any part in politics whatever. His broken health and the long sufferings make him determined—apart from any such condition—to retire and lead a private life and so he is willing to undertake to observe honestly this or any other such definite and reasonable condition that the Government may be pleased to dictate.

f. These reasons added to the fact that of all the thousands of seditionists convicted before and after the petitioner, none has been held up in Jails so long as the petitioner and his brother (they have remained while all those lifers convicted with them have long been released) make him confident that the visit of H.R.H.[sic] the Prince would mark the end o f their misery and that he and his brother G.D. Savarkar (in whose case the above mentioned grounds hold good to even a greater extent) would be released.

3. But if the petitioner’s ill luck still persists in suppressing the Voice of Mercy then as a last alternative he prays that the special grievances arising out of his sudden transfer from the Andamans should be redressed: Had he been in the Indian Jails throughout these 11 years the petitioner would have earned something like 2 years of remission or even more. Had he been in the Andamans to the end of his term he would have been by this time eligible to be sent out on Ticket of Leave and could have taken his family there, in virtue of the system there. But as it is he is deprived of the advantages of both these systems. So he prays that either:

a. The remission of 2 to 3 years be restored to him, or

b. He be allowed to take his family with him and sent back to the Andamans on Ticket of Leave. Even the meanest of convicts, after putting in 9 years in the Andamans and with a year of good conduct, is entitled to lead a private life under the ticket of leave system—and it would not be much if the petitioner expects that at least that much will not be denied to him, after putting in 11 years in the Andamans and in the Jails, and with 7 years of Jail good conduct. He would—if allowed this much at least—be simply glad to lead a retired and private life forgotten by and forgetting the world in the blessings of a dear home life—that world which is so terribly afraid of having its safety disturbed by so hapless, hopeless and broken individual as the petitioner.

4. In conclusion the petitioner humbly begs to emphasize that the continuation of this agitation or that in India may not be allowed to prejudice the interests of the petitioner. He would not have suggested this but for public statements to this effect both in the press and the platform. He could have no control over the actions of millions of people and to make him and his brother suffer longer on ‘administrative grounds’ would be to punish them for the actions of others, which are entirely beyond his power to check.

5. He is confident that this petition would not fail in persuading His Excellency the Governor-General and His Excellency the Governor of Bombay to order the immediate release of the petitioner and his brother—for which act of kindness he would ever pray for Their Excellencies’ long life and prosperity.

6. Full-text of Ganesh Damodar Savarkar’s petition, dated July 4, 1922, Sabermati Jail

His Excellency,
The Governor of Bombay in Council.

May it please your Excellency:

I was sentenced on the 8th of 1909 to a sentence of transportation for life, passed by me partly in Indian jails, but largely at Port Blair from 1910 to 1921. Both under the rule which makes a life convict eligible for release at the end of 14 years including remission and the recommendation of Indian Jails Committee which has advised the release of life convicts at the end of 10 years including remission, I am entitled to an immediate release.

At the time of general amnesty given to political prisoners in December 19191 and my brother Vinayak D. Savarkar were injustly [sic] excluded for the time being from the benefit of the general pardon and when my brother represented the matter to His Excellency the Viceroy about both of us we were informed that his Excellency ‘is not prepared at present to extend to them the benefit of the amnesty’. The decision to exclude us was not final, as the language of the official reply makes it clear. I therefore trust that even at this late date, we brothers will be granted the release, which we had reason to expect even in 1919. But apart from this my claim to release is over due under the 14 years rule, for if the remission due to me during my stay at Port Blair in my various capacity of ordinary 3rd class convict and 2nd and 1st class convict is counted. I have completed these 14 years in June 1921 and my brother will complete in the current month of July 1922. So far however we have been deprived of there mission rightly and justly due to us. Throughout our stay at Port Blair we were put in Cellular Jail and given hard labour and our condition of jail life were all those of rigorous imprisonment in an Indian jails [sic], unlike what happens in the case in the case of ordinary transportees. But while incarcerated in Port Blair we were denied the rights accruing from such incarceration i.e. the right of securing a self-supporting ticket at the end of 10 years which is generally synonymous with ticket of leave and the like. And now we are being denied of the rights accruing from the sufferance of rigorous imprisonment in an Indian jail. The Inspector General of prisons during his visit to Vijapur jail informed me in reply to my verbal inquiry, that the question of me and my brother being granted remission would be decided very shortly and in reply to a written petition send to him by me in March last, he replied that the question was still under consideration of the government. I respectfully contend that it is very unjust to us that while suffering the hardships of both kinds of imprisonment we are being deprived of the rights accruing from either. I am entitled to an ordinary Port Blair remission of about 950 days and my brother about 840 days approximately and therefore under 14 years rule both of us are entitled to an immediate release, my 14 years having been completed with remission if given long ago in 1921.

The recommendations of the Indian Jails Committee however entitle us to a release at the end of 10 years including remission and since I have finished 13 years of actual imprisonment and my brother 11½ years we are entitled to be released at once. Government have released all the other prisoners in connection with the Nasik murder and conspiracy cases, we cannot but regard it as a matter if extreme hardness that my brother should be singled out for exclusion.

My record of jail conduct ever since 1914 viz. for over 8 years has been very good there being not a single punishment inflicted on me. My brother’s record is far better than that of any other political prisoners in Port Blair since he has only one or two punishments in about 1913 or 14 throughout the long period of 11½ years. In my case the punishment inflicted on me in 1909 and 1910 at Yeruda [sic] jail were [sic] for inability to grind the full 35 lbs. of the grains which was obviously beyond my strength as my considerable decrease in weight during the period proves. The punishment given to me in Port Blair were [sic] due to extremely hard labour given to me along with other political prisoners and the conjoined action taken by us to stop the persecution which physically was unbearable. But later on since 1914 I never joined in any such action although the strike was taken up again at times by others. For the last more than 8 years of jail life, in Port Blair and in India I have given no occasion to any jail official to take any disciplinary measure against me and even the Chief Commissioner of Andamans testified to me his ‘appreciation of my good behaviour’. I had been officially informed which in Bijapur that the Chief Commissioner has recommended for us to the Government. I therefore respectfully urge that I and my brother are entitled to immediate release under.

1. The promise of the future consideration of granting amnesty implied in His Excellency’s reply to my brother.

2. The general rule regarding release after completion of 14 years including remission, and,

3. The recommendation of Indian Jails Committee regarding release after completion of 10 years including remission. I therefore request the early and favourable consideration of the petition

I beg subscribe myself
Your Excellency’s petitioner
Sabermati Jail
Date 4 July 1922

7. Full text of petition submitted by Sai. Yamunabai Vinayak Savarkar to Sir George Lloyd, Governor of Bombay, n.d. (c. 1921– 22), Bombay:

His Excellency Sir George Lloyd,
Governor of Bombay,

Respected Sir,

I, the undersigned, Sister-in-law of Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, one of the prisoners formerly transported to Andamans but now brought from there and kept in the Ahmedabad Jail, beg to lay before Your Excellency the following few lines of favourable consideration.

2. According to the Jail Committees recommendations, some 700 prisoners who have served out more than 10 years of their sentences have been released by Your Excellency’s Government. Among these, a prisoner by name of Mr. V.N. Joshi, who was sentenced to transportation for life in the Jackson murder case itself, has also been released. My brother-in-law was transported for life for the mere publication of a book-let containing a few poems, and thus his offence is perhaps almost insignificant as compared with that of Mr. V.N. Joshi referred to above. Besides, my brother-in-law has actually completed more than 13 years of his term in prison, and his conduct in Jail is exemplary. Therefore if Mr. Joshi was entitled for release, under the Jail Committee’s recommendations, my brother-in-law was more so. I therefore fervently appeal to Your Excellency to take these facts into consideration and like Mr. Joshi, release him.

3. My brother-in-law’s release is due from other point of view also. According to the Indian Penal Code, Section 55, no prisoner can be retained in prison for more than fourteen years. This term, as per Government Resolution No. 5308 (Judicial Dept.) dated 12-10-1905 includes also the remission earned by the Convict. My brother-in-law has, from the date of his sentence (9th June 1909), been all along, kept in prison, even in the Andamans. He has thus served more than 13 years of his sentence actually in rigorous imprisonment. Adding to this the remission which he should and would have earned in the Indian Jail—and every prisoner confined in prison earns nearly 2 months remission per year, as a prisoner, and more than that as a convict officer—I believe he has completed his fourteen years, and therefore I pray that, even on this ground, his release is now due. I need not point out that, according to the Jail Committee’s recommendations, his release is really overdue. I pray therefore that he should be released on either of the grounds shown above.

4. Until his release I pray that he should be given all the concessions which he enjoyed in the Andamans as a first class prisoner, Viz.

1. A letter or an interview with a parcel once a month.

2. Books not prescribed by Government.

3. Newspapers sanctioned by Government.

5. In conclusion, I beg to point out that my brother-in-law has been trebly [sic] wronged.

1. While in the Andamans, he has been denied the benefits of comparative freedom given to a transported prisoner. There he was, for all the thirteen years nearly, kept in rigorous imprisonment, and was not let out as an ordinary transported prisoner.

2. Secondly, my brother-in-law has not been treated as a prisoner undergoing rigorous imprisonment, although he has been undergoing it, in lieu of transportation. As such, he should have got nearly 2 ½ years remission, and entitled for release, under Sec. 55 of the Indian Penal Code.

3. Thirdly, as I have pointed out above, he has not been given the benefit of the Jail Committee’s recommendations, and although he was more entitled for release than Mr. Joshi, he has not been released. Thus all the benefits of a transportee, or of a prisoner undergoing rigorous imprisonment, and all the chances of release have been unjustly refused to him till now!

I therefore pray that, as mere justice demands, he should be released immediately.

I beg to remain,
Your most obedient servant,
[signature—in Devanagari]

Address: c/o Dr. N.D. Savarkar
Girgaon, Bombay

8. Full text petition from V.D. Savarkar’s wife, Yamunabai Savarkar to Sir Lloyd George, Governor of Bombay, n.d. (c. 1921–22)

To His Excellency Sir George Lloyd,
Governor of Bombay,

Respected Sir,

I, the undersigned, wife of Mr. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the prisoners formerly transported to Andamans but now brought from there and kept in the Ratnagiri Jail, beg to lay before Your Excellency the following few lines for favourable consideration.

2. According to the Jail Committee’s recommendations, some 700 prisoners who have served out more than 10 years of their sentences have been released by Your Excellency’s Government. Among these, a prisoner by name Mr. V.N. Joshi, who was sentenced to transportation for life in the Jackson murder case itself, has also been released. My husband was transported for life for a less heinous crime than that of Mr. Joshi. The latter was actually concerned in the murder of the late Mr. Jackson, while my husband was not. My husband has also, like Mr. Joshi, completed more than 11 ½ of his Jail life. Besides, his Jail conduct has also been exemplary. Therefore if Mr. Joshi was entitled for release, under the Jail Committees recommendations, my husband was more so. I therefore fervently appeal to Your Excellency to take these facts into consideration and like Mr. Joshi, release him.

3. My husband’s release is due from other point of view also. According to the Indian Penal Code, Section 55, no prisoner can be retained in prison for more than fourteen years. This term, as per Government Resolution No. 5308 (Judicial Dept.) dated 1210-1905 includes also the remission earned by the Convict. My husband has, from the date of his sentence (24 December 1910), been all along, kept in prison, even in the Andamans. He has thus served more than 11 years and 6 months of his sentence actually in rigorous imprisonment. Adding to this the remission which he should and would have earned in the Indian Jail—and every prisoner confined in prison earns nearly 2 months remission per year, as a prisoner, and more than that as a convict officer—I believe he has completed his fourteen years, and therefore I pray that, even on this ground, his release is now due. I need not point out that, according to the Jail Committee’s recommendations, his release is really overdue. I pray therefore that he should be released on either of the grounds shown above.

4. Until his release I pray that he should be given all the concessions which he enjoyed in the Andamans as a first class prisoner, Viz.

1. A letter or an interview with a parcel once a month.

2. Books not prescribed by Government.

3. Newspapers sanctioned by the Government.

5. In conclusion, I beg to point out that my husband has been trebly [sic] wronged.

1. While in the Andamans, he has been denied the benefits of comparative freedom given to a transported prisoner. There he was, for all the eleven years nearly, kept in rigorous imprisonment, and was not let out as an ordinary transported prisoner.

2. Secondly, my husband has not been yet treated as a prisoner undergoing rigorous imprisonment, although he has been undergoing it, in lieu of transportation. As such, he should have got nearly 2½ years remission, and entitled for release, under Sec. 55 of the Indian Penal Code.

3. Thirdly, as I have pointed out, he has not been given the benefit of the Jail Committee’s recommendations, and although he was more entitled for release than Mr. Joshi he has not been released. Thus all the benefits of a transportee, or of a prisoner undergoing rigorous imprisonment, and all the chances of release have been unjustly refused him till now! I therefore pray that, as mere justice demands, he should be released immediately.

I beg to remain,
Your most obedient servant,
[Signature in Devanagari]
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:46 am

APPENDIX IV: Is Hindusthan Disarmed?1

The Hypnotism that binds our hearts

Nothing brings home to us more painfully the hypnotism that is paralyzing the centres of our action than our blind and unreasoning belief that Hindusthan is disarmed and that therefore we cannot successfully inaugurate a revolution to overthrow the rule of Britain. There are many men, and among them, even Desh. Gokhale, 2 who say, ‘we are not in love with British rule; we understand that absolute independence is the only logical goal for Hindusthan; we would even fight for it in an open war. But where are the arms with which to fight? How can we fight their maxim guns and quick-firers and repeating rifles? How can we fight against their navy?’ And, believing that they have raised unanswerable objections and given irresistible arguments against revolution, they advise the nation that it is therefore impossible, unwise, and suicidal to think of war and attempt to overthrow the British yoke. And a section of our countrymen have adopted this false reasoning, and filled with the despair that comes of belief in one’s own impotence, act as a heavy drag on the advancing force of the Revolution.

It is one of the worst symptoms of the demoralization that has set in upon us as the result of long years of slavery and western ‘education’ that our people should thus deify this machine. They forget that it is man that makes the machine and not the machine that makes the man. They have lost their belief in the infinite capacity of the Human Mind and are filled with materialistic fears that machines have got the power in themselves of opposing the advancing tide of a national revolution. They forget that if the enemy has got machine guns, we also, if we set about it, can make them, or purchase them in the world’s market, or capture them from the enemy himself. They also do not take into account the stores of arms that are already in the country waiting only to be used by us for the achievement of our independence. Alas, what a pathetic sight it is to see the descendants of Shri Ram and Shri Krishna, Arjun and Bhim, the Ghazis and the Akalis, Nana Saheb and Khan Bahadur, tremble before a puny race of shop-keepers, because forsooth, these are armed with modern guns and cannon, and we are not! Where is our heroism, where is our love for fighting gone? Have we lost our resource and faith in ourselves and the greatness of our destiny? Have we become so blind that we do not see the large quantity of arms that is still in the country available to us and the immense possibilities of increasing the same? One could have scarcely believed it, but it is nevertheless true, that many of our countrymen think that we are not in a position to face the British enemy in battle. It is therefore necessary that we should clear this ignorance and the weakness and pusillanimity that is possessing their hearts on account of this ignorance by placing the right estimate of our situation before the country.

Are we really disarmed?

It is of course true that the detestable ‘Arms Act’ passed by the cowardly Briton in 1879 is on our Statute Book, and that our men are not allowed to possess a gun even for protection against robbers or wild beasts. It is also true that we are not allowed to carry a gun or sword or revolver without a license, which is systematically refused to genuine Hindusthanees. But let us not forget that the ‘Arms Act’ does not extend to the States of our Princes. There every man can get himself armed to the teeth if he pleases. In those States there is no ban placed upon that elementary right of every man to carry arms. And thanks to the Revolution of 1857 the whole of Hindusthan is not painted red, and the States do not cover a small area. More than one-third of our country consists of these States wherein live over 60 millions of people with perfect liberty to purchase and carry whatever arms they please. And these principalities are not crowded together in one place but are scattered all over the continent, so that every part of the territory directly tyrannized by Britain is within a few hours’ distance from some important Hindusthanee State.

Of course attempts have been and are being made by the enemy to intimidate or cajole the Princes into introducing laws restraining the use of arms within their respective territories. The Princes have hitherto resisted this pressure, which it is nothing short of suicidal if they yield to. And there is no near prospect of our Princes, descended of warlike ancestors and governing warlike peoples, obeying the behest of the Firinghi in this particular. The Maharaja of Jaipur was once asked by the Viceroy if he would consider the introduction of the ‘Arms Act’ in his territory. The Maharaja is reported to have handed over his sword, to the Viceroy and pathetically said, slave that he was, that he was personally willing to yield his sword to the Viceroy, but that it was not in his power to force the Sirdars and subjects to do the same. The Nizam also was cunningly approached and it was proposed to him that he would be given ‘permission’ to increase his regular army if he would suppress his irregular troops and introduce some restrictions as to the use of arms in his kingdom. But the Nizam was clever enough to perceive the treachery of the Firinghi and refused to consider the proposal. And at the present moment the enemy is very fearful of pressing the Princes too much in respect of any matter about which they feel rather strongly.

Then again there are the old swords and matchlocks, spears and lances that are kept by the villagers in every part of the country. There are also the guns and other arms of the Police in every taluq, which it is so very easy for the people to take on any day when they want to begin the fight. It will thus be clearly seen that it is a mere idle superstition to say that there are no arms in the country, which the people could use in their fight for their independence.

The People in Western Countries are not much better armed

We ought to admit and once for all do admit that the arms that we have spoken of above cannot compare with the arms that are in the hands of the enemy. But at the same time let us not forget the all-important fact that no people on the face of the earth is sufficiently armed to enter into an equal fight with the government under which it is living. The ‘Declaration of Independence’ of the United States of America provides that the right to keep and carry arms is an inalienable right attaching to citizenship, and today every American citizen is entitled to carry a revolver or gun at his pleasure. In France and Belgium and Switzerland and England too, there is practically no restriction at all to the right of every man to carry arms. But can anybody say on this account that the people of those countries are able, so far as present possession of arms is concerned, today to engage in a bloody encounter with their respective governments? The cannon and maxim guns and howitzers are in the hands of the government, and the possession of a few revolvers and hunting-guns does not place them in a better position than the people of Hindusthan for the conduct of such a struggle. And yet, if there were in those countries a tenth part of the injustice and oppression that is committed in Hindusthan today, the people there would not pause so much as to consider whether they are armed or disarmed but rise at once like an avalanche and overwhelm the government with all its Maxims and Mausers!

Odds always against the People

In fact, when all the great revolutions of the world broke out, were the people ever adequately armed to cope with the power of the tyrant? It is in the very nature of the relation between tyrant and oppressed that all the army and navy and means of offence and defence are in the hands of the tyrant, and that he uses them in repressing the least symptoms of liberty, showing itself among the people. The tyrant discourages the smallest exhibitions of a spirit of independence, self-reliance, strength and courage in the people he oppresses—he cannot brook a subject walking erect in his dominions. He keeps his mercenaries aloof from the civil populations and forbids all intercourse between the two. And he carefully prohibits the use of arms by any of his subjects. And yet revolutions have broken out and revolutions have succeeded in the world ere now.

The example of the French Revolution

Look at the Great French Revolution. When the great world volcano broke out, the people were entirely disarmed. There was not even a common feeling of nationality among them. Everybody felt himself to be a Provencal or a Parisian, a Breton or a Norman, and none believed himself to be a Frenchman. The artillery was in the hands of the king and the aristocracy and that tyrant blood that bleeds the people under the shelter of the throne. The army was composed of Germans and Swiss and Austrians who were ready to shoot down the masses at a moment’s notice. And the people had nothing but pikes and crowbars, sticks and brickbats with which to fight the tyranny. But what was the result? On the 14th of July, 1789—that sacred day on which Liberty was first born on the continent of modern Europe, on which tyrants first began to tremble for their thrones and the People felt the first young thrill of victory and strength—the people marched against the Bastille, the well-defended fortress of tyranny and captured it in a few hours! Of course they could not and did not take the Bastille merely with the aid of their pikes and crowbars. The government had a large store of artillery and other arms in the Hotel des Invalides. Before the mercenaries of the king, 30,000 of whom under Besenval were encamped on the Champs de Mars not 6 furlongs off, could go and take it, a section of the people rushed at it, captured 12 pieces of cannon and 32,000 muskets, and with this brought the hated edifice down. Here was the resource of the Revolution! The taking of the Bastille is only one of the incidents of the Great Revolution. Wherever the people succeeded in the course of that great struggle, and they succeeded to a very large extent, it was always by a display of revolutionary activity, before which the rotten edifice of Tyranny yielded like a house of cards, and not by the possession of arms.

The revolutions in Hindusthan

What happened in France in the 18th Century had already happened in Hindusthan in the 17th. There also the country was in the hands of the Moghuls who held it by force of arms and by the divisions among the Hindu kingdoms of the day. All the best-trained chivalry of the land supported the foreign domination, which appeared invincible in its apparent strength. And even the whole of Hindusthan did not rise against the tyrant. Only two of the most despised peoples of the time took it into their head that Hindusthan should have Swaraj and that the invader should not be the lord of the land. Arms they had very little to speak of. Cannon and artillery, heavy and light arms were all in favour of the Moghul. But the revolutionary impetus that was in them found its own weapons and neither its artillery not its powerful allies could save the Moghul empire from the fate it deserved.

The glorious six days of Milan

Italy shall supply to us our last illustration. It was 1848 and the city of Milan felt that it was its duty to show to the rest of Italy how to fight Austria. The ‘leaders’ advised the people that it was impossible for the city to offer any resistance to Radetzky with his 60,000 well-armed troops. But the instinct of the people was truer than the calculations of the ‘leaders’. They overruled their leaders and determined to fight against those apparently heavy odds. In a single night the people had erected barricades at all the entrances to the city. Tables, chairs, desks, heir-looms were thrown by the people to build the barricades against the advancing columns of the enemy. And what had they to reply to the artillery of Radetzky? Nothing but old guns and knives and sticks and broken swords! Armed with these, the people defended for six days, displaying the most wonderful heroism, and on the seventh day Radetzky had to retire with the wreck of his fine army! Neither his artillery nor his numbers were of the least avail!

The Invincibility of modern artillery is a mere Superstition

It will be objected that a great deal of improvement has been effected in the weapons of destruction within the last few years. But in the first place, the degree of improvement has been greatly, immensely exaggerated. It is in the interest of the capitalist class—that octopus that has now coiled itself round the world and is sucking its blood in a thousand shapes and a thousand forms, and which can continue its nefarious work only if the people who are its victims can be kept in a state of constant and permanent fear of its omnipotence—it is the interest of this capitalist class to make the people believe that their maxim guns are invincible, that their howitzers are all-powerful, and that if the people dare to rise against the existing order of things they will be annihilated into dust and ashes. But the truth is far otherwise. The mortality in all the latest wars of the world shows clearly how enormously exaggerated this pretended power of the modern gun is. Look at the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava. Remember how they rode one mile and a half right into the mouth of the cannon that was firing at them. The fire was hot and was pouring thick like hail, but still when they reached the cannon, half of the Brigade survived to silence them and turn them against the enemy! Study the Boer War and the Russo-Japanese war—the mortality is not more than in the wars of the last century. The history of the last Bastar rising should teach us the same lesson. And if the maxim guns were all-powerful, why has Britain retreated from the territory of Somali Mulla, covered with disgrace like a whipped cur? It will therefore be plain to anybody who gives a little thought to the subject that the strength of modern day artillery is extremely overrated. In the second place, the weapons in the hands of the people have also improved pari passu . The capitalist, true to his instincts, cannot afford to throw away his out of date guns. And by a natural process of commercial gravitation the weapons that were last taken away from use in the army come into the hands of the people. And the weapons thus available for the people at the first onrush at the present moment is not less inferior to the weapons that are in the hands of the tyrants than the weapons available for the people during past revolutions to those possessed by the tyrants of those times. So we need not spend so much as a thought to the supposed difficulty created by the modern improvements in artillery.

Navy powerless against us

As regards the ability of the enemy’s navy to injure us, we have only to remember the words of Haidar Ali Khan’s proclamation, which we reproduced in full in our last issue: ‘As to their ships, though they may do us some damage on the sea-coast, yet that damage cannot exceed the distance of cannon-shot.’ And the remarks of that great son of Hindusthan are no less true today than they were in 1781.

The Terror of the Enemy and its Meaning

The very terror of the enemy should open the eyes of such of us as are blind to the fact that the possession of modern artillery and the ‘greatest’ navy in the world is not everything. The policy of repression, which the Firinghi has adopted against us is indicative of the fact that he feels that his artillery and army and navy would be powerless against us the day that even 1000 Hindusthanees make up their minds to brave them. And what cannot be done in such a country like Hindusthan? We can cut off their telegraph wires, smash the wireless apparatus, break down their rails, and their railway carriages and thus render the enemy powerless to transmit their troops with speed. By means of the bomb and the dynamite we can dismantle their cantonments and magazines and capture their guns and cannon and arm ourselves as well as them. And after all, how easy it is to forge these weapons! The blacksmiths of our country, with their natural intelligence and energy, can without the slightest difficulty cast and forge the most complicated machine-guns. And with our immense sea-board we can smuggle arms by the thousands—not all the fleet of England can prevent this if we determine to do it.

We have the advantage of the Attack

And let us not forget this further advantage that we possess. We can choose the time when to begin the fight. The enemy, from the very nature of things cannot start the war of himself. We can attack and have the first shot. He can only defend. The choice of time and place is entirely in our hands and even a child knows what an immense advantage it is to fire the first shot.

And we begin by guerilla war

And, again we do not start the war by at once engaging in pitched battle with the enemy. We must first form guerilla bands that should scour the country all round, attack the enemy where he is least powerful and run away to another place as soon as he forms himself in the first, cut off his food supplies, upset his commissariat, hang upon his rear, break the line of his communications, and generally like the wolf, fall upon him at every unguarded part and confuse him by the very rapidity and uncertainty of our movements; and thus exhaust him in every part of the country till we are strong enough to fight a pitched battle. This is the kind of war, which all nations struggling for liberty must first adopt. This is the kind of war which Shivaji and Guru Govind Singh, Moulvie Ahmed Shah and Tatya Tope and Kunvar Singh, Garibaldi and Kossuth, Washington and William of Orange—in short, all the patriot warriors of the world adopted for the achievement of their country’s liberation. We too have already adopted it in this our present Revolution. For, what if not guerilla bands, are these young men who loot the banks and offices of the British Government and attack the Svadeshi enemies of Hindusthan’s independence? The enemy to suit his own purposes call them dacoits, as the revolutionaries of ’89 were called brigands, as the Mahrattas were called bandits and highway robbers. But History will surely regard these young men as the pioneers of our Revolution, as the first young guerillas who broke the power and the backbone of the Firinghi and removed the hypnotism of our minds as to the strength and resource of the enemy. Scouting—the master art of the guerilla—is not new to us. Our hunters and trackers, our gypsies and fakirs, our Kallars and Maravars are born scouts and their mastery of scoutcraft is unequalled. And the people of our villages would help us in every possible way—they hate the Firinghee so much. Even our enemies have confessed how the people were with the Revolutionaries in the great struggle of ’57. Says Charles Ball, ‘and all these bands of rebels (our patriots, whom, with Firinghee instinct, he calls rebels) were strengthened and encouraged to an inconceivable degree by the sympathy of their countrymen. They could march without commissariat, for the people would always feed them. They could leave their baggage without guard, for the people would not attack it. They were always certain of their position and that of the British, for the people brought them hourly information. And no design could possibly be kept from them while secret sympathizers stood round every mess table and waited in almost every tent in the British camp. No surprise could be effected but by a miracle, while rumour, communicated from mouth to mouth, outstripped even our cavalry.’ And today, if anything, the people will be still more with us in order to destroy the insolent, brutal Firinghi.

The Victory of Truth and Righteousness

Our guerilla bands would thus exhaust the enemy and increase their stores of arms by capturing a large number of the enemy’s cannon, and would eventually grow into a large army. And then, the fight between those who fight for independence and for a principle and those who fight for empire and for paltry lucre can only have one issue—the victory of the principle and the destruction of the tyrannous empire.

So, brothers and sisters of Hindusthan, let us clear ourselves of the illusion that we are disarmed! Let us rush into the battlefield and hammer down the chains that are binding us. Kalkin—the new ideal of Swadharma and Swaraj—is already born amongst us, for Dharma is in Her deaththroes and Adharma is prospering in the world! Let us flock to the standard of the new Avatar and engage the tyrant in battle! Let our faith be great in the principle for which we fight! Let us fill ourselves with the haughty spirit of our ancestors and defend Dharma to the death! And Kali shall die, and a new age shall dawn for Hindusthan, and for all the world! —for the Scarlet Woman of the West will no more rule in Hindusthan and tyrannize the earth!
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:46 am

Part 1 of 5


Vinayak’s ancestral house, Bhagur

Vinayak’s birthplace, Bhagur

Wasudev Balwant Phadke

Damodar Hari Chapekar

Hari Vinayak Chapekar

Vasudev Hari Chapekar, Mahadev Vinayak Ranade and Khanderao Keshav Sathe

Balakrishna Hari Chapekar

Vasudev Hari Chapekar

The Ashtabhuja Bhawani idol, the family deity of the Savarkars, which is now at the Khandoba Temple in Bhagur

The narrow lanes of Nashik where the Abhinav Bharat was born

The Abhinav Bharat congregated here in Nashik

Young turks of the Abhinav Bharat

Aabaa Darekar alias Kavi Govind
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:47 am

Part 2 of 5

A 1901 photograph of young Vinayak

A 1902 photograph of young Vinayak

Ramachandra Trimbak or Bhaurao Chiplunkar, Vinayak’s father-in-law

Yamuna Bai (Mai) Savarkar

Ganesh Damodar Savarkar (Babarao)

Yesu Vahini or Yashoda Bai Savarkar

Vishnu Mahadev Bhat

Standing (L to R): Vishnu Mahadev Bhat, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Ganesh Vishnu Ranade, Ganesh Hari Oak, and Ganesh Vasudev Joglekar Sitting (Lto R): Vasudev Narayan Moholkar, S.V. Gokhale, Krishnaji Pant Sath, Balakrishna Pant Gokhale, Vaidya Seated on ground: Ganapatrao Phadke

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Shyamji Krishna Verma

Group Photograph taken in early 1909 at India House, London Standing (L-R): Mitra, M.P.T. Acharya, Harnam Singh, Syed Haidar Raza, Dr Rajan and housekeeper Jack Sitting (L-R): V.V.S. Aiyar, Gyanchand Verma, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Niranjan Pal, Khan, Lala Govind Amin

Koregaonkar, Niranjan Pal and Vinayak in London

Madan Lal Dhingra
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:48 am

Part 3 of 5

Virendranath Chattopadhyay

V.V.S. Aiyar

Madame Bhikaji Cama

Lala Har Dayal

Original of Savarkar’s The Indian War of Independence

Anant Laxman Kanhere’s photograph in a Nashik Studio just before he murdered Jackson

Krishnaji Gopal Karve

Vijayanand Theatre in Nashik where Jackson was murdered by Kanhere

David Garnett

Guy Aldred

Vinayak photographed after his arrest at Victoria Station in London

Savarkar in jail clothes

Guy Aldred’s The Herald of Revolt , advocating the release of Savarkar
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Thu May 13, 2021 2:49 am

Part 4 of 5

The Bande Mataram , July 1912 issue, seeking Savarkar’s release

Detailed deck plan of S.S. Morea that transported Vinayak from London

The Cellular Jail under construction, 1900

An old photograph of the Cellular Jail

The Cellular Jail, Port Blair

The flame of independence at the Cellular Jail, Port Blair

Bar Fetters, Cellular Jail, Port Blair

Cross-Bar Fetters, Cellular Jail, Port Blair

Kolhu or oil mill at the Cellular Jail

Letter from Vinayak to V.V.S. Aiyar

Model of prisoners being whiplashed, Cellular Jail, Port Blair

Model of prisoners grinding the oil mill or kolhu, Cellular Jail, Port Blair

The Gallows, Cellular Jail, Port Blair
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 2:19 am

Part 5 of 5

Vinayak’s Cell, Cellular Jail

Ullaskar Dutt, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Babu Prithvi Singh Azad, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Hotilal Varma, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Indubhushan Roy, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Pundit Paramanand, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Sachindranath Sanyal, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Upendranath Banerjee, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Bhai Parmanand, political prisoner at the Cellular Jail

Babarao Savarkar after his release from the Cellular Jail

Vinayak after his release from the Cellular Jail

The Savarkar brothers (L to R) Narayan, Ganesh and Vinayak, with Shanta, sister Maina Kale and Yamuna
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Re: Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath

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