New Delhi: Fifty years after he passed into the ages, Vinayak Damodar 'Veer' Savarkar is making waves on Twitter on Saturday. #VeerSavarkar was one of the top trends on Twitter today.
While there were some, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leader LK Adani, who paid tribute to VD Savarkar on his 133rd birth anniversary, there were others who accused the late Hindutva icon and labelled him as 'traitor' and 'anti-national'.
He was born on May 28, 1883, in Bhagpur village near Nashik in the state of Maharashtra. After his parents died young, his elder brother Ganesh looked after the family. In 1898, the British hanged the Chapekar brothers in Pune for killing a British officer. This had a deep impact on the teenaged Savarkar, who decided to take up armed struggle against the British.
In 1901, he joined the Ferguson College in Pune and set up the Abhinav Bharat Society, which preached a revolutionary struggle against the British.
In Britain, Savarkar organised students and advocated an armed struggle to throw the British out of India. He also wrote his book on the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, which he called India's First War of Independence, a terminology the Indian government accepted after Independence.
In March 1920, Savarkar was arrested in London on charges of indulging in anti-Britain activities. He was sent to India to face trial.
Following a failed attempt to escape while being transported from Marseilles, Savarkar was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totaling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but was later released in 1921. Savarkar spent 14 years of his life in Andaman & Nicobar’s cellular jail, where he was forced to undergo back-breaking labour, along with intense torture.
Upon his release, Savarkar became a forceful orator and writer and served as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, which sought to protect the interests of Hindus. Savarkar endorsed the idea of India as a Hindu Rashtra and opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942, calling it a "Quit India but keep your army" movement.
Starting in 1911 from the time of his conviction, Savarkar is said to have written numerous mercy petitions to British government in exchange for his loyalty to them. These mercy petitions are still a source of political controversy in India.
Savarkar's link with Mahatma Gandhi's assassination
Savarkar was arrested and indicted by the government of India in the assassination of Indian leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, the two main accused, were known to Savarkar and frequently visited him. However, Savarkar was acquitted by the Supreme Court of India, for the reason of lack of evidence.
Read below what people are posting on the micro-blogging site using the hashtag.
I come 2 power, name assets on my heroes like Gandhi, Nehru,Patel,Indira
U come to power, name them on ur heroes like Godse, Savarkar. #Easy
— Fahad (@rjfahad) May 18, 2016
For Congress & AAP, Savarkar is a criminal who was prisoned @ kalaPani & Womaniser Nehru is a hero, who ruined IND#NehruDynastyMuktBharat
— ॐ SANDEEP SANGHI ॐ (@samgold21) May 18, 2016
— Nasrul Hoda (@nasrulhoda73) May 18, 2016
— #SaveFarmers (@ItsAamAadmi) May 18, 2016
It was Savarkar who first sowed the seed of Two Nation theory which was later hijacked by Jinnah.@AAPkSaath
— जयश्री (@AAPkSaath) May 18, 2016