Hyderabad: Friday marks the punya tithi or death anniversary of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar in the Hindutva political ecosystem.
A host of leaders including Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu paid rich tributes to him, even as he described the author of several books, including Hindutva, as a freedom fighter and outstanding orator.
“My respectful tributes to the great revolutionary freedom fighter, visionary thinker, prolific writer & outstanding orator, #VeerSavarkar on his Punya Tithi today. He was also a social reformer who strove to eradicate social evils like untouchability & caste system from society,” he tweeted.
The President of India tweeted images of his visit to the infamous Cellular Jail in Port Blair and paid homage to freedom fighters who were imprisoned there. Interestingly, he did not mention Savarkar’s name, who was also imprisoned there, but tweeted, “The heroes of our freedom struggle endured inhuman torture during their incarceration in the solitary cells of the jail. They epitomized courage, fearlessness, and supreme sacrifice. I salute the memory of those great freedom fighters.”
Several other leaders followed suit in eulogising Savarkar.
Hyderabad too has a Savarkar connection. One that predates the installation of his bust near Sultan Bazaar or naming the road named after him.
A couple of years after serving 10 years imprisonment at the Cellular Jail and then at another prison, Savarkar was released in 1924. It is a couple of years later that a book with the title The Life of Barrister Savarkar emerged. Its author was a Chitragupta. It is this book which was banned by the State of Hyderabad.
According to a firman, a royal decree, issued in February 1940, the book, Sawaaneh Hayaat Barrister Savarkar, or The Life of Barrister Savarkar, and its translations were banned in the Nizam’s dominions. Not only that, the firman ordered that if copies of the book were to be found in the dominions, they should be confiscated.
According to a report in The Wire, the author of this book, Chitragupta, was none other than Vinayak Damodar Savarkar himself. It is in this very book that Chitragupta, endowed himself with the soubriquet ‘Veer’, or Brave. As per the report, the matter came to light after Savarkar’s publisher revealed in 1987 that ‘Chitragupta is none other than Veer Savarkar’
An excerpt from the book, as reported in The Wire, reads thus: Savarkar is a born hero; he could almost despise those who shirked duty for fear of consequences. If once he rightly or wrongly believed that a certain system of Government was iniquitous, he felt no scruples in devising means to eradicate the evil.