Shree Narad Media Central Desk
Special for the day
During the Indian freedom struggle against the Britishers, freedom fighter Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar ji’s contribution was unique and incomparable. He had put his life at stake not only for revolutionaries in India but also abroad. His work had made the lives of Britishers miserable. That’s why Britishers arrested him in London and sent him to Mumbai in a ship called “Moriya”, so that they can prosecute and penalize him.
But Savarkar ji was a man with self-respect and lively person. He had acquired in-depth knowledge about the international laws. On the 08th July 1910, when the ship was anchored at the Marseilles port, when he took a courageous decision and took permission from the security personnel to use the toilet.
After taking permission he closed the door tightly and covered the glass of the toilet with help of his clothes. There was a window in the toilet which opened towards the huge ocean.
After measuring the dimension of the window and his own body, Savarkar ji jumped into the ocean. Since he didn’t come back for a long time, the security personnel banged the door of the toilet and subsequently broke it, but the bird had already escaped. When security personnel looked into the ocean, they found out that Savarkar ji was swimming towards the port of France.
They called their team and started firing bullets. Few soldiers took a small boat and started following him, but Savarkar ji swam with a lightning speed and reached the shore. He surrendered to the French police and asked for political asylum.
Since he was aware of the international laws, he knew that he had not committed any crime in France. So, the French police can arrest him but cannot extradite him to any other country. That’s why he took this courageous step. He declared himself independent once he reached the shores of France. Meanwhile, the British police also reached there and demanded the return of the prisoner. Savarkar ji quoted the international law regarding extradition.
Also, arrival of a foreign citizen on French land was a crime. British police bribed the French officials. Unfortunately, French police succumbed to their pressure. Therefore, they handed over Savarkar ji to the British police. Now, he was put under strict surveillance and was handcuffed along with chains around his body. After a trial, he was sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment in “Kalapani” after he reached Mumbai.
Even though he failed, but there was historic importance to Savarkar ji’s courageous jump. This event made Indian slavery an issue of discussion on international forum. The act of France was condemned, not only in their parliament but even internationally, wherein President of France had to tender his resignation. There was a serious discussion on this issue in international court in The Hague, wherein the action taken by Britishers was condemned, but Savarkar ji had already reached Mumbai and nothing could be done about it.
The ardent followers of Savarkar ji in independent India had requested French govt to put up a memorial at the port in the memory of this historic event. The French govt and the mayor of Marseilles have agreed for it, but they want the proposal to come from the Indian government. Unfortunately, the Indian government has not sent the proposal till date. Heartfelt salute to the supreme patriot and freedom fighter Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar ji.