Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(1883-1966)

Died aged c. 83

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar () (28 May 1883 – 26 February 1966, commonly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar) was an Indian pro-independence activist, politician as well as a poet, writer and playwright. He advocated dismantling the system of caste in Hindu culture, and reconversion of the converted Hindus back to Hindu religion. Savarkar coined the term Hindutva (Hinduness) to create a collective "Hindu" identity as an "imagined nation". His political philosophy had the elements of utilitarianism, rationalism and positivism, humanism and universalism, pragmatism and realism. Some later commentators state that Savarkar's philosophy, despite its stated position of furthering unity, was divisive in nature as it tried to shape Indian nationalism as uniquely Hindu, to the exclusion of other religions. Savarkar was also an atheist and a staunch rationalist who disapproved of orthodox Hindu belief, dismissing cow worship as superstitious. Savarkar's revolutionary activities began while studying in India and England, where he was associated with the India House and founded student societies including Abhinav Bharat Society and the Free India Society, as well as publications espousing the cause of complete Indian independence by revolutionary means. Savarkar published The Indian War of Independence about the Indian rebellion of 1857 that was banned by British authorities. He was arrested in 1910 for his connections with the revolutionary group India House. Following a failed attempt to escape while being transported from Marseilles, Savarkar was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totaling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but released in 1921. While in jail, Savarkar wrote the work describing Hindutva, espousing Hindu nationalism. In 1921, under restrictions after signing a plea for clemency, he was released on the condition that he renounce revolutionary activities. Traveling widely, Savarkar became a forceful orator and writer, advocating Hindu political and social unity. Serving as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar endorsed the ideal of India as a Hindu Rashtra and opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942, calling it a "Quit India but keep your army" movement. He became a fierce critic of the Indian National Congress and its acceptance of India's partition. He was accused of the assassination of Indian leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi but acquitted by the court. The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar's capital, has been named Veer Savarkar International Airport. The commemorative blue plaque on India House fixed by the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England reads "Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 1883-1966 Indian patriot and philosopher lived here". In the recent past, the Shiv Sena party has demanded that the Indian Government posthumously confer upon him India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Photo of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar blue plaque
Spudgun67 on Wikimedia Commons

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 1883-1966 Indian patriot and philosopher lived here

65 Cromwell Avenue, Highgate, N6 Haringey, London, United Kingdom where he lived