Dedicated to Prabhakar, Short-lived Son of Savarkar
Bidding goodbye to his young wife Mai, one-and-a-half-year-old first-child Prabhakar, kith and kin, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar sailed for England in 1906. Three years later, in 1909, he came to know about the death of Prabhakar at the tender age of four. Shaken, he composed a poem in his mind’s eye: Prabhakarās’ (To Prabhakar) and dedicated ‘The History of Sikhs’ to him, so that his name could live on in this ‘literary temple’. Unfortunately, that manuscript fell into British hands after his arrest at Dover and was destroyed. Savarkar wrote later in 1912 from the Andamans: “After the handwritten manuscripts of the Sikhs’ History were destroyed, the clouds of revolutionary flames and winds touched even the ‘literary temple’ dedicated to Prabhakar”.
This book is dedicated to Prabhakar, son of Vinayak Savarkar — an offering laid at the altar of his memory; and to Vinayak Savarkar and Mai, as representatives of patriots who suffered and bore ignominies for the freedom of the nation.
Savarkar was an extraordinary and unique combination of erudition, grandeur and valour. He was a fiery patriot with great foresight. He believed in the unification and organization of Hindus. He was a great visionary and a prolific poet. Proud of his mother tongue, he was an effective and powerful orator. He was a rare personality, who made signal contributions, in the political field as well as in social reconstruction.
Dr Arvind Godbole has successfully presented his multifaceted, prolific personality in a simple style. Bharatiya Vichar Sadhana has undertaken the publishing to facilitate the brief knowledge of the great personality to all.
We are confident that, since the writer was a close associate of the great patriot, his memories and thoughts will bring Savarkar to life in the mind of readers. Several inspiring aspects and instances from Savarkar’s life are recorded here, beckoning to ordinary Indians to emulate this Great Architect of our Nation.
A hero of the Freedom Struggle, Savarkar was a great and honourable man. His biography is unique. Daunted by his towering personality, an ordinary may wonder if he could emulate Savarkar? Savarkar himself certainly thought it was possible, and launched numerous programmes which everyone could practice in daily life and rejuvenate nationhood. These programs and the life-long attempts of Savarkar to inspire ordinary people to walk and excel on the path that he blazed forth, will be introduced in this biography.
Overflowing with an all-around concern for the nation, Savarkar was a sculptor who chiselled out the future visage of the nation out of its rocky past. Reading his biography, remembering him, will definitely inspire everyone to work unceasingly for the nation. With this unshakeable faith in our people, we present this biography to our readers.
Several biographies of Swatantryaveer Savarkar, brief and detailed, have been published. But a biography easily accessible to ordinary people was needed. It had to be bigger than one written for children but smaller than a detailed biography. I hope that this book, असे आहेत सावरकर (Such is Savarkar!), will fill this gap.
Savarkar’s life, thoughts, personality, literature and the conditions and circumstances of his times, are introduced herein to the readers. Wherever appropriate, his pithy expressions have been used as captions. The work usually follows chronology. But when Savarkar got involved in several movements at the same time, his multiple lines of activity had to be described separately. The book is organized into eleven small chapters.
Daunted by his unique life, fearful of emulating him, many prefer to salute him from a distance. But there are many ideas and initiatives launched by Savarkar that even an ordinary Indian can pursue. I have dealt with unreasonable criticisms often levelled at him and set out the truth. All statements in this book have documentary support, but references have been avoided in the interests of easy readability.
His thoughts which lead mankind today and guide it to a glorious future, make Savarkar immortal. That is why I have titled the book “Such is Savarkar” instead of “Such was Savarkar”.
When dealing with emancipation and the development of society, mentioning castes by names was unavoidable. Without such mentions, it would not have been possible to understand the conditions of those times. The prejudices reported in that chapter are not in any way endorsed by this writer or publisher.
My daughter-in-law Ms Gayatri urged me to write Savarkar’s biography for children and also suggested the title of the book. My grandchildren used to insist: “You have seen Savarkar very closely, please tell us stories about him”. I wrote the first part of this book in the house of my youngest daughter, Ms Sharavati. The Swatantryaveer Savarkar National Memorial Library, Mumbai, gave me access to much relevant material. Honorable C. P. Bhishikar and my son Dr Srirang helped me with proper suggestions after proofreading the drafts. I have knowingly or unknowingly learnt several stories from Savarkar scholars. ‘Bharatiya Vichar Sadhana’ seeded the idea of this book and all other ‘Punekars’ (people of Pune) helped me.
I thank all of them.
24th April 2005. Mumbai. Arvind Godbole.
English Translation: 10th April 2021, Hyderabad: Raja Ram Atre.