Burning for Freedom: "O Goddess of Freedom, Life is to die for you, Death is to live without you!"
This is the story of one man ́s—Vinayak Damodar Savarkar ́s— sacrifice of his name, fame, comfort, and family life in the fifty years of his quest for the freedom of his beloved motherland, India. It is the story of politics and power plays. Exposed here is the reality that lies behind the mask of Truth; exposed are the shenanigans of Mahatma Gandhi in the Freedom Movement of India. The reality is a far cry from the rosy picture presented by what passes as history. Here, Savarkar ́s life is creatively intertwined with a fictional character, Keshav Wadkar, taking the reader from the horrors of the Cellular Jail in 1913 to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. Savarkar fought to preserve the integrity of India, to reinstate the honor of his motherland without ripping her heart out. For the emancipation of his beloved country and people, he suffered agonies and gross injustices at the hands of the British government, Gandhi-Nehru-led Indian National Congress, and the successive Governments of free India. That his contribution to India should be negated to bolster the political aspirations of any political party is unacceptable. The truth cannot—and shall not—be hidden!
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The life of Indian patriot-poet-philosopher Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is stranger than fiction. Such a tumultuous life poses a challenge to the biographer. It is ingenious of author Anurupa Cinar to create a fictional character Keshu and present an eventful phase of Savarkar’s life in novel form (pp 336). The end result is a thoroughly researched, gripping and enjoyable piece of literature. The author brings to life the horrors in the hell-hole that was the Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands which the British used to torment the Indian revolutionaries. The episode of Keshu’s molestation at the hands of a warder is portrayed in gory detail. Savarkar’s fortitude in the midst of despair is truly moving. The novel presents the social and political life of India in the twentieth century ((1913- 1948). The horrendous Moplah riots, Gandhi’s satyagraha, events leading to the Freedom and Partition of India, Gandhi’s murder and the despicable attempts by the powers that be to implicate Savarkar are full of authentic historical information written in easy language. The romance of Keshu and the widow Lakshmi is written tenderly. The portrayal of Gandhi as the British loyalist should come as a revelation to many readers but it is backed up with solid facts. The author has done a particularly great job in interspersing the prose with Savarkar’s sublime poetry, translated in verse by the author herself. All in all, a must-read novel for those interested in the history of twentieth -century India. Also, an excellent introduction to the life of Savarkar, one of the foremost Indian heroes whose life has a universal message of yearning for freedom