Veer & Savarka- they just go along with other so well that those uninitiated into the great man’s legacy would actually believe Savarkar’s name was Veer. Most of us have heard of his acts of valour and resilience, but not many would know about the “Vidvaan” Savarkar, a man of tremendous intellect, a literary giant who authored 38 books including his magnum opus ‘Mahakaavya Kamala’
It is with this book that I would like to begin my narration of the sheer genius within the man called Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Those were nightmarish days for Savarkar, lodged in solitary confinement at the dreaded Cellular Jail in the Andamans, tortured and brutalised, often vomiting blood, lying unconscious amidst vomit, urine and even faeces. Such extreme conditions would break down persons with even the most extraordinary grit and strength, but not the physically diminutive yet mentally colossal Savarkar. I can guarantee you will get goose bumps every time when you read what he did in such severely arduous conditions.
During this period of extreme adversity Savarkar would compose a couple of verses every other day and scribble them on the prison walls. He would then memorise them and erase them, compose more verses and repeat his act of scribbling, memorising and erasing. This went on for years and 13.5 years later, (yes you read that right, 13.5 years) when he was out of prison but under detention in Ratnagiri, he recollected all 6000 verses and put them together to give birth to ‘Mahakaavya Kamala’ – such was the monumental genius of this Maa Saraswati putra, Vidvaan Savarkar.
Savarkar was also credited for contributing several new words to the Marathi language, which we all use so regularly in our daily parlance. ‘Doordarshan (television), sampaadak(editor), digdarshak (director), kramaank (sequence/number) were some of the words coined by him.
Savarkar’s writings had a massive influence on our greatest freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev. His book ‘Hindu Pad Padshahi’ finds prominent mention in Bhagat Singh’s handwritten ‘jail note book’. Bhagat Singh also encouraged his peers to read ‘Life of Barrister Savarkar’ which Savarkar wrote under the pen name Chitra Gupta
‘The Essentials of Hindutva’ was Savarkar’s first English work. His definition of a Hindu or Hindutva (being a Hindu) from a cultural and nationalistic prism, rather than a religious one, clearly brings out the visionary inside this great thinker who was perhaps far ahead of his time.
I could go on and on about his genius but I would end with a gut wrenching, yet spellbinding story that will be a fitting conclusion to this little tribute to Savarkar.
It was early days when he was studying in England. His brothers, wife and sister-in-law were in India and he had just become a father before leaving for England. News of his brothers’ arrest first came in, and this was soon followed by the sad demise of his child. Shattered, he started walking aimlessly on the shores of Brighton pining for his motherland when the waves of the sea lashing at the rocks had him burst out into a poem that has me choking every time I listen to it. This incredible poem “Ne Majasi Ne” cries out his intense yearning to be united with his motherland when he prayed to the sea that connected him with India, to take him back home. This poem was later further immortalised by our very own nightingale Lata Didi Mangeshkar in her divine voice.
Link to Lata Didi’s original video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An95IQbyDz4
These were some of the numerous incidents that provide an insight into the sheer genius of arguably one of India’s tallest visionaries – Veer Savarkar, or shall we now say Vidvaan Savarkar ?
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