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Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924

4.21, 14 Ratings 4 Reviews

As the intellectual fountainhead of the ideology of Hindutva, which is in political ascendancy in India today, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is undoubtedly one of the most contentious political thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century. Accounts of his eventful and stormy life have oscillated from eulogizing hagiographies to disparaging demonization. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between and has unfortunately never been brought to light. Savarkar and his ideology stood as one of the strongest and most virulent opponents of Gandhi, his pacifist philosophy and the Indian National Congress. An alleged atheist and a staunch rationalist who opposed orthodox Hindu beliefs, encouraged inter-caste marriage and dining, and dismissed cow worship as mere superstition, Savarkar was, arguably, the most vocal political voice for the Hindu community through the entire course of India's freedom struggle. From the heady days of revolution and generating international support for the cause of India's freedom as a law student in London, Savarkar found himself arrested, unfairly tried for sedition, transported and incarcerated at the Cellular Jail, in the Andamans, for over a decade, where he underwent unimaginable torture. From being an optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the 1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him in the Cellular Jail to a proponent of 'Hindutva', which viewed Muslims with suspicion? Drawing from a vast range of original archival documents across India and abroad, this biography in two parts-the first focusing on the years leading up to his incarceration and eventual release from the Kalapani-puts Savarkar, his life and philosophy in a new perspective and looks at the man with all his achievements and failings.

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November 07, 2019
"I am a reformist at heart." I am glad that we finally have a biography dedicated to Savarkar. This book was an eye-opener for me. I didn't know about Savarkar anything till 2015. One of the bravest anti-colonial revolutionaries of Freedom Struggle of India was suspiciously missing from our school books, as well as the mainstream political discourse. And it is obvious why. Only those belonging to a particular ideology, find a mention in general textbooks. The entire credit for Indian Independence is given to Gandhi and Congress leaders. Howe ... more
Anand rated it
September 03, 2019
Imagine yourself jailed on an island where you have a fixed and almost impossible quota of manual labor to perform every single day. With no hope of returning to your motherland, would you still dream of the freedom of your country? This was precisely what Savarkar was thinking while held as a prisoner in the Andaman Jail. Somehow when we were taught about the freedom struggle of India, along with many other revolutionaries, the name of Savarkar, who was the first to call 1857 a freedom struggle while the colonial historians tried to dub it as ... more
Anand Rai rated it
August 31, 2019
Just like the author mentions in the beginning of the book that till 2003-04, he didn't know anything substantial about one of the bravest anti-colonial revolutionaries of Modern India, I didn't know about Savarkar anything till 2015. After reading the book, it's quite clear why? Because Savarkar's story would easily over-shadow all the convenient narratives about freedom struggle and bring forward the ugly truth of the past. The reason why Savarkar's vision of Bharat is growing stronger day by day and supposed secular narrative is losing its c ... more

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