Q. 14.5( 8 Votes )

Search for the book written by V.D.Savarkar entitled ‘The Indian War of Independence 1857’ and read it.

Answer :

The Indian War of Independence The book, which explains the 1857 revolt as a united and national rebellion of India as a nation against British power, was seen at the time as very provocative, and the Marathi edition was banned in British India even before its publication. It is an Indian nationalist history of the 1857 revolt by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. It was first published in 1909.It was published during Savarkar's stay in London at the India House, the book was influenced by histories of the French Revolution and the American Revolution, and it brought the Indian movement to the public interest in Britain as well as to motivate nationalist revolution in India.


The book was originally written in Marathi. It was penned by Savarkar in response to celebrations in Britain of the 50th anniversary of the 1857 Indian uprising with records from India Office archives. The entire task received support from Indian nationalists in Britain including the likes of Madame Cama, V.V.S. Iyer, and M.P.T. Acharya, as well as Indian students who had the courage not to show their support or sympathy for India House openly.


It was disqualified from the list of the British Library to avoid Indian students from accessing it. In India, the book stayed excluded for many years later.


The highlights of the book are:


• It is a powerful work in Indian history and nationalist writing, and also one of Savarkar's most influential works in developing and outlining ideas of male Hinduism.


• Some modern histories draw similar conclusions as the Savarkar, others, disagreed with Savarkar's conclusions in his book on the national and joined character of the mutiny. (historians like R.C. Majumdar)


• A leading revolutionary himself, he was attracted and inspired by the flaming passion, the heroism, courage, misery and sad fate of the leaders of 1857.


The content of the book


• British, as well as Indian historians, have described and allowed the rising of 1857 as a ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ or at finest as ‘The Indian Mutiny’. Indian revolution is on the other hand, and national minded leaders and thinkers have regarded it as a deliberate and organized political and military rising aimed at destroying the British power in India.


• Savarkar re-interpreted the incident and related it in full with the help of all the material available to him at the time. He used up days and months at the India Office Library studying the period. Savarkar attempted to look at the incidents of 1857 from the Indian point of view.


• The sepoys, according to Savarkar, were the primary targets in this mission to spread Christianity in India. According to him “If any Sepoy accepted the Christian religion he was praised loudly and treated honourably, and this Sepoy was promoted in the ranks, and his salary increased, in the face of the superior merits of the other Sepoys!”


• Savarkar made an interpretation of modern political thought in India. The book explains that Savarkar established criteria for identifying revolutionaries, but he also argued that studying the life-stories of revolutionaries would encourage Indians to create future revolutions.


• Reading of history was transformative and the contributions of earlier period revolutionaries were meant to create an effective response for readers to become transformed into new revolutionaries.


• Savarkar's ideas and interpretations were making revolutionary thought in India in the early decades of the twentieth century.


Facts about the book


• It was impossible to get this book published in India; the manuscript was returned back to Savarkar.


• Savarkar wrote this book originally in Marathi and completed writing it in 1908. The Marathi name of the book was “Che Swatantryasamar.”


• Attempts to get this book published in Germany also failed.


Some Indian students staying in India House translated this book into English. Finally, this work was published in Holland in 1909, under the title The Indian War of Independence –1857.


• One edition was available secretly in India after the end of World War II. The unique Marathi manuscript was kept in the secure custody of Madame Cama in Paris.


This document was handed over to Dr Coutinho of the Abhinav Bharat when Paris was in disorder during World War I. Dr Coutinho conserved it like a sacred scripture for nearly 40 years.


• After India became independent, he returned it to Savarkar.


Savarkar is known for his activism for Indian independence. Savarkar coined the term Hindutva (Hinduness) to form a collective "Hindu" identity as a soul of Bharat (India). Savarkar was charge-sheeted in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later cleared, largely because no evidence of his participation was provided. It has helped continue the myth of Savarkar the courageous.


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