Shivaji and Savarkar

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Hi, Everyone! Anyone who has read Savarkar’s biography, even in a cursory manner, is conscious of the immense admiration and respect Savarkar had for Shivaji—from the earliest childhood. Savarkar’s chapter on Shivaji in his book Hindu Padpadshahi (find an e-book @ gives a very good idea of this too. Time and again Savarkar has hailed Shivaji as the heroic king who wrested back large portions of India from the Mughals and actively chased a “Hindavi Swaraj.”
It seems utterly preposterous and ridiculous to me that anyone should point accusing fingers at Savarkar saying he disrespected Shivaji. It is inconceivable!
Yet we live in an imperfect world—when mud is slung at anyone it tends to stick, particularly when it is accompanied by a sensationalized, wanton act of vandalism like burning copies of (Savarkar’s) books. And so, much though it goes against the grain to give even an appearance of credibility to such fallacy by mentioning it or offering vindication for Savarkar, I have decided to do it.
Here are some examples which illuminate just what place Shivaji held in Savarkar’s heart and soul.
  •  In 1902, Savarkar composed an aarti, a song of worship, in honor of Shivaji. Every Friday as a part of the Ferguson club activity, this aarti was sung before a picture of Shivaji.
  •  In 1903, Savarkar composed the poem Shivaveer (Shivaji: the Hero) in honor of Shivaji.
  • He has also composed another poem, Hindunrusimha, praising Shivaji.
(I have given all the three poems at the end of this post.)
  • The very first function organized by Savarkar’s Mitra Mela was a celebration of Shivaji Jayanti (birth anniversary.) This is a practice he continued to follow down the road.
  • In 1905, his group popularized his ballads on Sinhagad and Baji Prabhu. Both ballads extolled the heroics of Shivaji with Tanaji and Baji Prabhu. Using these incidents of guerilla warfare, Savarkar subtlely promoted the idea of freedom. The people in Maharashtra just loved the ballads.
  • Sometime after this a Shivaji festival was celebrated at Raigad. These ballads were sung there. The audience was enthralled by them, but Daji Khare, who was presiding over the event, became nervous by their inflammatory words. So fiery were the words that when the audience joined in the singing, Khare, a friend of Tilak, told him to close the show down as he did not want to be party to any unconstitutional activity! 
  • Babarao published this ballads in 1906 and three years later the Government proscribed them.
Unfortunately, I have not translated these ballads yet.
  • In the women’s organization, parallel to Savarkar’s Mitra Mela, each member was required to take this pledge: “In the name of the Motherland, Shivaji Raja who won freedom through war, and Bhavani Mata who gives strength, I hereby give witness before Shivaji and Bhavani Durga Devi that I shall use swadeshi goods only, love my country more than my life, strive for my country’s freedom and help those who are doing so.”
  • In 1906, in the patriotic song, Priyakar Hindustan (O Beloved Hindustan,) which Savarkar specially composed for the occasion commemorating the death anniversary of Guru Govind Singh, organized in a grand manner at Caxton Hall, London on December 29, 1908, he most certainly included Shivaji as one of the virtues of Hindustan.
जिजा जन्म दे शिवा जिच्यास्तव गुरु पुत्रांचे प्राण
जिच्यास्तवचि त्या कुमारिकांसी विस्तवांत ये न्हाण
Here too was born of Jijabai, Chatrapati Shivaji,
And maidens who embraced the pyre for their honor.
Bricked to death here were the Sons of the Guru,
So staunch were they in their loyal fervor!
  • Again in 1908, when he composed another patriotic song, Hind Sundara Ti (Hind, the Beautiful One,) he makes a mention of Shivaji.
प्रतापशिवबंदा I श्रीगुरूगोविंदा
संभवदेउद्भवदेI देजीउत्स्फुर्ती II II
To Rana Pratap, Shivaji, Banda Bairagi, lo
And Guru Gobind Singhji too
She gave birth, beginning, n’ inspiration so!
  • Savarkar followed Shivaji’s precept of manipulating a powerful enemy any which way, especially from a position of great weakness. He also advocated others to do so too. To give an example, he quoted instances from life of Shivaji to convince the political prisoners in Andman who had received amnesty to sign the pledges. I am giving here the incident as I have written it in my novel Burning for Freedom:
“Soon enough, general amnesty was granted to several of them here but not unconditionally. They had to sign a pledge refraining from any political activity for a specified time. This offended most of them. It was an infringement upon their rights! A slur upon their patriotism! Sign a pledge? Never! Savarkar was very heartened to see that despite all their sufferings, they were still such staunch patriots. Such Sons of India should definitely be free to fight for their country!
‘Brothers, there is nothing wrong in signing this pledge. Sign it and be free—free to work for the freedom of our motherland.’
‘Tatyarao, with the signing of this pledge our hands are tied! It forbids us to do just that very thing.’
‘Ah, but do you have to follow its dictate?’ asked Savarkar passionately. ‘No! A pledge imposed upon us by a foreign enemy power is worth only the paper it is written on. There is no reason to stay committed to it! It is merely a means to an end—only an avenue to break the locks of this jail.’
‘But that would be deceitful, Tatyarao!’
‘Deceitful to whom?’ exclaimed Savarkar. ‘When we have no constitutional rights and are crushed into subjugation by arbitrary laws of an enemy power, honesty as you mean it is not a luxury we can indulge in!’—he raised the palms of his hands—’the only honesty and truth for us is reinstating the honor of our beloved Hindustan. We follow any path that circumstances force us to take. If the British rule us by unlawful means, we go against this law of theirs to gain freedom. When under duress we make petitions and even sign pledges!’
‘Yes, Tatyarao, there is much in what you say. But it still seems cowardly to sign such papers. The blood of heroes like Shivaji flows in our veins! What, shall we supplicate before the enemy? History will label us as cowards and hypocrites!’
‘We cannot swerve from our path by fear of adverse public opinion! Shivaji was very brave indeed. Yet when needed, he took a conciliatory position with Aurangzeb. At one time, Shivaji suffered many losses from the mighty Mughal forces led by Mirza Raja Jaisingh and Dilerkhan. He made a small capitulation and signed the Treaty of Purandar. He was forced to hand over to Aurangzeb many forts and go to Agra. Here he was treacherously imprisoned by Aurangzeb. Shivaji sent petition after petition professing loyalty to him, all the while planning his escape! It was his strategic move to lull the enemy. Can Shivaji be accused of cowardice? Change of heart? Never! We must also admire the forethought with which he killed the mighty Afzal Khan by ripping open his stomach with the tiger claws. If he had not broken his promise of being unarmed in that meeting, Afzal Khan’s plot to crush him to death would have been successful!’
‘Tatyarao, indeed, we did not see it in this light.’”
  • Time and again Savarkar had said India needs a Shivaji. Keer writes in his biography of Savarkar that in 1952, in one of his lectures he said that “if God were to ask him to beg for a boon, he would pray him to bless India with a Chandragupta or a Shivaji to wipe out the despondency prevailing in the minds of the younger generation and make the nation valorous and great. He said he preferred a rule of a benevolent great leader like Shivaji to an ignorant, weak-kneed democracy.”
  • In 1953, when addressing a big meeting at the Jackson Garden in Nasik, he declared that the name of the garden should be changed to Shivaji Garden. He also stated that Indian Statesmen should follow the tactics and policy of Shivaji, who was a real statesman.
After reading this (and the poems below) there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind in just how high an esteem Savarkar held Shivaji.
-  Anurupa
Click here for PDF
Click here for PDF
Aarti on Shivaji composed by Savarkar
जयदेव, जयदेव, जयजयशिवराया
या, याअनन्यशरणां, आर्याताराया
जयदेव, जयदेव, जयजयशिवराया
तीपूताभूमाता, म्लेंच्छाहीछळता
जयदेव, जयदेव, जयजयशिवराया
त्रस्तआम्हीदीनआम्ही, शरणतुलाआलो
साधुपरित्राणाया, दुष्कृतीनाशाया

The Savarkar Case

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October 25, 1910—that was the day that the Savarkar Case, as it came to be known, was submitted for arbitration in the Hague court. This date is extremely important for it marks the supreme success of Savarkar. That one man—and one belonging to a subject nation, having no rights whatsoever, at that—should have, by his daring, dynamic brilliance brought two super-powers to their metaphoric knees is incredible!
Britain and France, two powerful imperialistic powers, who routinely crushed the rights of their subject nations, had terrible punishments and transportations meted out to the people of their colonies, were now in the ignoble position of opposing each other over the violation of the rights of one “native” man in the international court in Hague, no less.
It was a novel situation for the arbitrators of the Hague, too. In the days of undoubted “white supremacy,” they were arbitrating over the rights of a “native” man who by virtue of belonging to a subject nation had no rights!
No wonder this case is still cited and a case study in books on international law even today.
In Britain’s case, they had additional egg on their face, for Britain was a staunch supporter of political refugees—of other countries, of course! Savarkar ripped that mask off Britain’s face, certainly! Britain, a country who gave asylum to political refugees, who refused to extradite them, and was considered a champion of political refugees, now lay exposed by their treatment of Savarkar and his case.
In Savarkar’s case they had to go to extremes—concocting a warrant, bending the British law to execute it, breaking international law of jurisdiction to keep him in their possession, trying him unjustly in a murder case, thus disqualifying him for the status of political prisoner—to keep him their prisoner and away from inciting the Indians to fight for their freedom.
But of course, the arbitration in the Hague was just a sop to quiet the international uproar the Savarkar Case had aroused. Many people (then and now) were confused as to the issue of the arbitration. This arbitration was not for deciding Savarkar’s right to asylum in France, or even for deciding if he is a political prisoner. The sole purpose of this arbitration was to decide if Savarkar was to be returned to France. And there were many loopholes to it:

  • In 1910 “International law” was no more than words. No actual law existed then.
  • No country could be compelled to follow the dictates of the Award given by the court of Hague. 
  • India, as a subject nation, was not even touched by any “international law” that existed then. Not to forget, Government of India had already exercised this freedom by refusing to give up Savarkar and going ahead with his trials without waiting for the Hague Award. 
  • There was no international law to protect the rights of the prisoner kidnapped on foreign soil, as Savarkar was—either then or now!

But there was a law recognized everywhere: law of jurisdiction. And this is the law that Britain broke. By taking Savarkar off French soil, Britain trampled on French jurisdiction. This should have been the Ace in the case that France submitted to the Hague, but their case fails to make the point.
Having studied the Savarkar Case, it seemed to me the arbitration was a masterpiece of evasion and turning a blind eye. I have put this in a nutshell in this video:
To know the particulars of Savarkar’s Marseilles escape watch this video:
Or click here for an interactive PDF or PPT slideshow.
Read here my translation of the L’Humanite articles that spoke out vocifererously in favor of Savarkar.
Read here what Guy Aldred has to say about the Savarkar Case in his Savarkar Special issue of the Herald of the Revolt.
Read the Savarkar Case documents here. (Translation of the French Case to be released in February 2014.)
Salute to Savarkar!

Savarkar’s Mindblowing marseilles Leap

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“O Goddess of Freedom, Life is to die for you,
Death is to live without you!”
-         V. D. Savarkar, Jayostute (translation)
July 8, 1910 . . . that was the day Savarkar threw his heart over the fence and executed a most daring, magnificent escape at Marseilles harbor.

With that he thumbed his nose at the might of the British Raj and put it in a most sorry position! But there were many inherent dangers in his daring act and consequences of failure were dire.
What was going on in Savarkar’s mind before he took the leap?

Fortunately, that has been recorded by his biographer Chitragupta in Life of Barrister Savarkar.  During the British Raj days, Savarkar often wrote under a pseudonym. This biography is also purported to be written by Savarkar himself. Here are his thoughts, in the third person, before he leapt to freedom:

“Mr. Savarkar had weighed all the consequences of an attempt to escape in his mind. He knew that failure was almost certain under these most unfavorable and hostile circumstances. . . . And if failure was almost certain how terrible would be the consequences! He had read harrowing accounts of the cruelty that these very officers were capable of when in their calmer moods. To what demoniacal fury and tortures would they not subject him if thus they got exasperated by his attempt to break off from their custody? Then any such attempt was bound to lay him open to far more serious charges and was bound to prejudice his first case in a most damaging way. For as the case stood there could have been no substantial documentary or other reliable evidence strong enough to sustain all the charges against Mr. Savarkar, so cleverly had he worked throughout that otherwise reckless agitation. Even the best legal opinions, in spite of the confessions of his former comrades that were wrung out by the Police in India, were one on the point that if he chose to defend and if no further complications took place he could not get more than seven years or so in any ordinary conducted trial. But an attempt at such daring escape would doubtless furnish that much dreaded complication.

Yes: true it was that thus the price of failure would be most exacting. But if it succeeds? Succeeds even partially? What grand tradition of heroic fortitude would it not leave behind to raise the prestige of the Indian revolutionist party in the esteem of all mankind? It will take Europe by surprise. It will wash away the stigma that the leader of Abhinava Bharat was trapped by the Government as easily as one would trap a mouse.

No! His arrest must cost them much more than the arrest of any single private individual had ever done. It must tax the utmost ingenuity of the English Government and force them to stand mortified and humiliated before all Europe. If no help, well he would individually do it at any rate. It was worth risking worth doing. Failure or success, he will have the satisfaction of having played his own of Indian Independence. But if, in pursuit and hunt, they shoot? Well, it would be far more in keeping with his position as the president of the Abhinava Bharat, the leader of young Indian, to die in that fashion, to get shot in the struggle than to live to rot in the Andamanese dungeons or end his life on the gallows. He must risk. But the steamer was to sail just after day break. These guards are all closing and tightly pressing on both sides. Still, if at all, this is the time. Now or never!

He actually repeated to his mind “Now or never!”

Such were the thoughts running through the mind of this amazing man!
Watch my videos, Savarkar: the Great Escape, Part I & II on Youtube:
Savarkar: The Great Escape, Part I
Savarkar: The Great Escape, Part II
 Also watch two quick videos:
Savarkar’s Heroic Jump
The Savarkar Case Bungle up

1) Savarkar’s Heroic Jump:

     2) The Savarkar Case Bungle up:

The video, Point to Point Biography of Savarkar is a quick study guide to his biography. Click on the pictures with hands and on the swiveling targets to get more information (source documents, articles, videos, pictures etc.) in the PDF or PPT version. Those links are given in the description of the video.

Point to Point Biography of Savarkar

“The Joke of the Century”

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“In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.”

-         Plutarch

Hi, Everyone! Just yesterday—following my self-imposed task of rectifying misinformation re Savarkar that I come across anywhere—I found myself commenting back and forth with an FB Friend (me patiently pointing out his inaccurate, unjustified statement; he taking refuge in mockery) when he came up with a wisecrack that surely takes the cake!

Here I was thinking I have heard it all—the many unjust, untrue, maligning words re Savarkar—but no! There are always some more, it seems.

I had just made a statement to the effect that it was Savarkar’s amazing leadership, definitely not  ”dictatorship,” that enabled him to raise the Hindu Mahasabha into a strong political party capable of giving competition to the Congress in the elections.

To my consternation his reply was: “raising the Hindu Mahasabha into a strong, political party – Joke of the century – liked it!”

“Joke of the century”!!! Savarkar ground himself to dust to fight for a United India, for saving India from partition and here all his work was described as a “joke”! Impossible to put my emotions in words when I read those words.

I couldn’t help thinking again how unfortunate it is that so many Indians, far, far from appreciating their freedom fighters, cannot even muster up a modicum of respect for them.

However, despite the heavily promoted distortions in Indian history, Savarkar’s role in the politics of India, his role in raising Hindu Mahasabha from an embryo stage to a political force is a well-documented fact. Both, reputed historians and reputed biographers have recorded it in their books.

Any researcher of Savarkar (even the Savarkar-bashers) should be well aware of that. In the course of my research, I have dug up international corroboration of this fact. I have in my possession a boxful of newspapers clippings, reports, even an article that give testimony to Savarkar’s extraordinary political feat.

I am going to post some of them here. Keep in mind that Savarkar was released from twenty-seven years of British Bondage on May 10, 1937 and took over presidency of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha only in December of 1937. He didn’t have much time to turn things around!

1)    Clipping from The Lowell Sun (8/15/1942.) Note the first few words: “Hindu Mahasabha, India’s third largest political party . . .” and that in just four and half years!

  2) Clippings from The Billings Gazette (4/25/1939) and The Bakersfield California (4/24/1939)

By 1939 itself Savarkar was a force enough to send a cable to the President Roosevelt of United States! These clippings (and there are several more) give evidence of it. Savarkar’s cable reads: “If your note to Hitler was actuated by disinterested human anxiety for safeguarding freedom of democracy from military aggression, why not also ask Britain to withdraw armed domination over India, allowing a free self-determined constitution? The great Indian nation can claim as much international justice as small nations.”

3)    Mason City Globe-Gazette (1942)

This clipping says that Congress and Hindu Mahasabha will have to agree on any decision re future of India.

Syracuse Herald (3/22/42) This clipping clearly states that Hindu Mahasabha is one of the four “factions” whose opinions Sir Stafford Cripps will have to consider in deciding the future of India.

Definitely HM was a political force, wouldn’t you say?

4)    Examiner (September 1942)

Here is a little clipping on Savarkar’s “Militarisation Movement.”

  5) Cullman Banna clipping (8/6/42)

Clearly mentions that this photo (the original was of very poor quality) is from the March of Time’s study “Crisis in India.” The write-up (incomplete here) gives some particulars of Savarkar.

6)    Excerpts from an interview of Savakar’s taken by an American journalist and published in the LA Times in 1943: “But he has a certain power of personality and is definitely a figure of some importance on the Indian political scene today . . . How he managed it I don’t know, but despite all that confinement he was enough in tune with the spirit of the times to get into the political whirl and come to the top of a strong minority party which exerts a considerable influence today. He’s a real story.”

7)    In 1945, J. M. Deb has written a book Blood and Tears featuring all the major parties of India and their role in Indian politics at the time. This book is important because it records history as it happened before distortions.
He too refers to HM as the third largest party in India. Here is a link to his piece on Savarkar and the Hindu Mahasabha:

All this gives a very good idea that Savarkar did indeed turn the Hindu Mahasabha into a political force. After reading this, if there is any truth in them, no one should find that statement the “joke of the century.”

However, if the Hindu Mahasabha was such a political force capable of giving the Congress a run for their money in the elections, why then did the Congress win the elections by a landslide?

What did happen?

That story of (Congress) dirty politics and treachery is well covered in my novel Burning for Freedom.


Savarkar: On this Savarkar Jayanti Day . . .

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“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
― Walt Disney Company

I have a dream . . . a goal . . . a purpose: worldwide justice and recognition for Savarkar.

On this day of Savarkar’s birth anniversary, my mind flits back to the last week of December 2008 when it all began for me. Putting 3-4 stress-filled years of intense volunteering at my kids’ school behind me, I was all set for chasing research on my favorite subjects: the Great Pyramid of Giza, chasing theories arising (in my mind) from the Holy Blood Holy Grail—an absolutely fascinating book!—and the Coptic Gospels written before the birth of Christianity (and kept out of the bible.) I had drawerfuls of material collected and was raring to go, when out of the blue the thought popped in my head that I must read a biography on Savarkar. All I knew of Savarkar then was the haunting song Sagara Pran Talamalala and some nonsensical (and erroneous!!) tit-bit re his having “escaped from Andaman squeezing through a toilet pipe”—which but naturally, I found mystifying.

The urge to find out more was very, very strong. All my life, though I respected Savarkar a lot, I remained uncurious about him. Why it took this great age of 45 before I felt this urge, I don’t know. Anyway, now the bug had bitten me. As I live in the US, I crossed my fingers and hoped I would find a biography online. And sure enough had one written by Shri Joglekar. I immediately set about devouring that book—and life has not been the same since . . .

To say I was electrified is putting it mildly! A panorama of Savarkar’s incredible personality, deeds, thoughts, and actions mushroomed in my mind. “Oh, but he is a foremost Karmayogi!” was my uppermost thought—being a deep believer of the Bhagavad, that was the crowning glory for me.

After that, I was like one possessed to find and read everything connected to Savarkar. Day and night I thought only of Savarkar; by mid-February 2009, it had become crystal clear to me that not only was a great injustice done to Savarkar in his lifetime, but the injustice was continuing so many years after his death, too—what I like to call “an ongoing-conspiracy.” The amount of anti-Savarkar material—misrepresenting, misinterpreting, and maligning—filling the cyberspace was very, very disturbing. Why, I thought to myself, don’t people read the truth for themselves? Why don’t they read what Savarkar himself is saying? He is so clear and frank. Whyis the twaddle written by Savarkar-bashers more believable than the truth? I haven’t any answers to that.

This gross injustice to Savarkar was unendurable. I was all churned up with the need to do something about it. But whatcould I really do?

Then one morning I just woke up with the determination to write, publish, and publicize a novel showcasing Savarkar as I saw him, putting the injustice done unto him in a story based on real, documented facts before an international audience. The dream was born . . .

It was the most preposterous idea! There I was: a widow with three young kids (aged 11, 9, and 5 at the time) with no real friends, connections, or a circle of influence, living a quiet, very quiet, life. Though living by standing up to my convictions, my natural inclination was to blend happily in the shadows. To top it all, I had never in my life written a word, other than schoolgirl-essays (donkey’s years ago!) While I was rather proud of my essay writing prowess then, it was a far cry from that to writing a novel—and one worthy of muscling in into the international market, no less!

Being very practical (despite dreaming what may be termed as an impractical dream!) I was very much aware that my novel would per force involve the exposing of Gandhi. In fact, to my mind, to understand the truth of Savarkar in its totality, it is necessary to understand the truth of Gandhi (and Nehru, and the Freedom Movement.) That was also to be a feature of my novel.

Fortunately, I had two things going for me—the only two, I believe, that are essential to chase dreams—an abiding belief in God andmyself, and the self-knowledge that I can move mountains, given the right motivation.

And so I began my headlong march: all I could see was my goal and myself; nothing else mattered. My head was in the clouds, but my feet were planted firmly on the ground.

(I have captured the “growing pains” of my early days of writing Burning for Freedom in a series of posts:
Do read them; even if I say so myself, they are quite entertaining. I often used to think it was a good topic for a hilarious comedy!
I have also written posts on “Divine Intervention” which has been so necessary for the writing of my novel:

Now four-and-a-half years later, my novel Burning for Freedom is written, published, and publicized (ongoing)—but that I realize is just the tip of the iceberg! There is much more to be done: more books to be written, more research to be dug up, anti-Savarkar articles to be responded to, and answers to some very odd things that people say to be given.

One of these very odd things is “Savarkar is certainly not a Bhagat Singh,” said derogatorily—well, really…!! Why on earth should he be? By that same token, Gandhi is certainly not a Bhagat Singh, Nehru is certainly not a Bhagat Singh. Any number of freedom fighters are certainly not Bhagat Singh, surely!

Bhagat Singh himself respected Savarkar very much and visited him in Ratnagiri. He even published a translation of Savarkar’s Indian War of Independence, 1857 in Punjab to inspire patriotism in the people.

In any other country just the mere fact that a freedom fighter had selflessly sacrificed fifty years of the prime of his life to gain freedom would have made him worthy of undying devotion. But in India . . . never mind Savarkar’s incredible contributions in the freedom struggle and social revolution, mud is even slung on his patriotism!

It is a crying shame that so many Indians today can’t see Savarkar for what he was: an unswerving, unparalleled freedom fighter who dedicated his entire life for the freedom and service of his people and country.

And so, odd and ridiculous though I find the above statement, I have decided my next post will be on that topic. And odious though I find comparisons, I shall be making some—between Savarkar-Bhagat Singh, Savarkar-Gandhi—to show the fallacy in it. In fact, I shall end here with a comparison I made in one of my interviews which was also published in the Hindu Voice, November 2012 ( :

Tyler: I understand from your book that Savarkar disagreed with Gandhi on some points about Indian independence. How were these two leaders different?
Anurupa: There isn’t any point of similarity between Savakar and Gandhi, except that they were both charismatic leaders, capable of holding a nation in thrall. I shall mention the three strongest differences that come to mind:
Savarkar lied and deceived the enemy, the British, but never ever the Indians—Gandhi, on the other hand, deceived the Indians time and time again and was friends with the British!*
Savarkar had political acumen. Gandhi had no political vision.
To Savarkar, the goal of freedom was paramount, the means were flexible. To Gandhi the goal of freedom was inessential, the means were paramount.”

Until next time . . .

Here is a link to my Author Video and Book Trailer:
* Those who doubt the veracity of my statement, do check out my post in the categories: Gandhi Facts, Gandhi Revealed and Unveiling of the FreedomMovement.