Veer Savarkar: A Life in Freedom Struggle

Veer Savarkar, also known as Vinayak Damodar (VD) Savarkar, was a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement. His unwavering dedication and revolutionary ideas left an indelible mark on the history of India’s struggle for freedom. In this comprehensive blog, we will delve into the life of Veer Savarkar, exploring his early years, his family background, his significant role in the Indian independence movement, his imprisonment in the infamous Kaala Pani jail, his post-independence life and activities, his enduring legacy, and his eventual demise. Additionally, we will uncover some intriguing facts related to this extraordinary freedom fighter.

Veer Savarkar: Early Life and Family

Born on May 28, 1883, in Bhagur, Maharashtra, Veer Savarkar hailed from a Marathi Chitpavan Brahmin family. He was born to Damodar Savarkar and Radhabai. His father, Damodar Savarkar, was a respected Sanskrit scholar, while his mother, Radhabai Savarkar, was a deeply religious and patriotic woman. He had two brothers- Ganesh and Narayan, and a sister- Mainabai.

Savarkar was a bright student, and he excelled in his studies. He was also a voracious reader, and he was drawn to the works of Hindu philosophers and reformers.

Veer Savarkar’s upbringing in a patriotic and intellectually stimulating environment laid the foundation for his revolutionary spirit and nationalist fervour.

savarkar family
Savarkar family

Political Awakening of Veer Savarkar

VD Savarkar’s political awakening began in his early teens. He was inspired by the writings of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a leading figure in the Indian independence movement. Tilak’s ideas about swadeshi (self-reliance) and swaraj (self-rule) had a profound impact on Savarkar.

In 1904, Savarkar joined the Abhinav Bharat Society, a secret society that planned and carried out acts of violence against the British. The society was modelled after the Italian nationalist movement, and it was dedicated to the overthrow of British rule in India. The fundamental goals of Abhinav Bharat were the abolition of British rule and the revival of Hindu pride.

Veer Savarkar’s contribution to the Indian independence movement was multifaceted and significant. He was an ardent advocate of Swaraj (self-rule) and played a pivotal role in inspiring and mobilizing the youth through his powerful writings and speeches. Savarkar’s influential book, “The First War of Indian Independence,” shed light on the 1857 uprising and inspired countless individuals to join the freedom struggle.

Relationships with Famous Compatriots

Veer Savarkar shared close ties with many notable compatriots who fought for India’s independence. He was closely associated with leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, and Bipin Chandra Pal, collectively known as the Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate. Together, they spearheaded the Swadeshi movement and played a crucial role in awakening the spirit of nationalism among the masses.

Imprisonment in Kaala Pani Jail

One of the most challenging phases of Veer Savarkar’s life was his incarceration in the Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, famously known as Kaala Pani jail. He endured immense hardships and suffered brutal treatment under the British colonial rule. Despite the harsh conditions, he exhibited remarkable resilience and continued to inspire fellow prisoners with his unwavering commitment to the cause of Indian independence.

Post-Independence Life and Activities

Following the tragic assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, enraged mobs targeted Savarkar’s residence in Dadar, Bombay, pelting it with stones. Subsequently, Savarkar was detained by the government for delivering “Hindu nationalist lectures,” despite being cleared of charges related to Gandhi’s murder. He was later released from jail and ultimately granted freedom in exchange for relinquishing his political activities.

In his later years, Veer Savarkar dedicated himself to rebuilding the nation and worked tirelessly to promote Hindu unity, social reform, and the preservation of Indian culture. He played an instrumental role in the formation of the Hindu Mahasabha, a political organization advocating for Hindu interests.

Legacy of Veer Savarkar

Veer Savarkar’s legacy is complex and contested. He is revered by some as a freedom fighter and a national hero, while others view him as a divisive figure who promoted Hindu nationalism.

His works have been praised by some for their clarity, their erudition, and their passion. However, his works have also been criticized by others for their Hindu nationalist ideology and their glorification of violence.

One of the most controversial aspects of Savarkar’s legacy is his definition of Hindutva. In his book Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?, Savarkar defines Hindutva as a “cultural nationalism” that is based on the shared history, culture, and civilization of the Indian people. However, this definition has been criticized by some for being too narrow and exclusionary.

Another controversial aspect of Savarkar’s legacy is his advocacy of violence against the British. In his book, My Transportation for Life, Savarkar describes the harsh conditions of his imprisonment in the Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He also writes about his political views and his plans for the future of India. In this book, Savarkar argues that violence is sometimes necessary to achieve political goals.

Savarkar’s legacy is still debated today. Some people see him as a hero who fought for Indian independence, while others see him as a villain who promoted Hindu extremism. However, there is no doubt that he was a significant figure in Indian history, and his ideas continue to be influential today.

Here are some of the criticisms of Savarkar’s legacy and works:

  • His definition of Hindutva has been criticized for being too narrow and exclusionary.
  • His advocacy of violence against the British has been criticized for being morally wrong.
  • His works have been criticized for promoting Hindu nationalism and religious intolerance.

Interesting Facts

  • VD Savarkar coined the term “Hindutva” in his 1909 pamphlet, which emphasized the cultural and national identity of Hindus.
  • He was among the first Indian political leaders to call for complete independence from British rule, as opposed to limited autonomy.
  • Savarkar was a prolific writer and poet, with his works spanning diverse genres, including historical narratives, plays, and poems.


Veer Savarkar breathed his last on February 26, 1966, in Mumbai, leaving behind a rich legacy of patriotism, courage, and intellectual depth. His contributions to the Indian freedom struggle continue to inspire generations of Indians in their quest for a progressive and unified nation.


Veer Savarkar’s life was a testament to his unwavering commitment to India’s independence and his vision of a strong and united nation. From his early years to his role in the Indian independence movement, his imprisonment in Kaala Pani jail, his post-independence endeavours, and his enduring legacy, Savarkar’s journey was filled with resilience, passion, and sacrifice. As we commemorate his life, let us remember his invaluable contributions to the nation and draw inspiration from his unwavering spirit in the pursuit of a just and prosperous India.


Please note that the information provided in this blog is based on historical accounts and should be viewed in the context of the time period in which Veer Savarkar lived.

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