Though each book that we read have a place in our memories but there are some rare ones that leave a lasting impression on our memories as well as on our perspectives. Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past by Vikram Sampath is one such book. A controversial history as that of Veer Sarvarkar that had attracted heated debates since decades needed to be put at rest by presenting the facts as they were.
The author Vikram Sampath provides a clear picture about the events that transpired between the years 1883 – 1924, in his first of the two volumes, with complete transparency based on the extensive research on original documents from all over the world and hitherto unused Maratha documents. In this book we see how Savarkar’s family environment and the contemporary political scenario of the country affected his young mind to take on the revolutionary path with the single aim – Freedom for the Motherland. An extensive reader that Savarkar was, books indeed made a huge contribution on his revolutionary strategies and the formation of his organization “Abhinav Bharat”. He was especially inspired by the life of the Italian revolutionary “Giuseppe Mazzini”.
This book also puts forward Savarkar’s extraordinary talent in poetry and oratory skills that made him quite popular at the tender age of 14! His poem “Hymn to Liberty” is one such brilliant composition that stirs patriotic feelings among people even to this day. He also wrote pamphlets articles and books, among which the most iconic was the “The Indian war of Independence of 1857”. However, this very literature and some conspiracy landed him in Andaman’s Cellular Jail where his brutal torment began.
This book captures Savarkar’s mental agonies, struggles, strengths in the most captivating way. It also throws light on his work as a social reformer who wasn’t afraid of raising sensitive issues or in challenging the established orthodox norms of the society. He was quite progressive for his times.
The vast ocean of precious information this book carries, can neither be measured on a rating scale nor I can do any justice to it in this review. The only way to honor Veer Savarkar posthumously and this book, is to read it. In my opinion, this book is not only one of the #mustreads but also worthy of being a cherished possession and a major academical reference for any history student or enthusiast. A small investment for one’s own enlightenment and for the future generations to come is all the more worth it and highly recommended.