Sri Atul Jog is the National Organizing Secretary ( Akhil Bharatiya Sanghathan Mantri ) of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram. In this short interview, he speaks on the various service activities that VKA is conducting across the country.
First part of the short interview.
Role of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram in national security.
Tripura is the news for the massive political transformation that has taken place, it is important to note the decades of silent work by karyakartas of various organisations in Tripura. One such organisation is the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.
In this short interview ( in Hindi) , 75 years young, Sri Piyushkanti Bhattacharya, a founding member and currently Secretary of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Tripura walks us through the journey of last 6 decades & how Hindu revival happened in Tripura.
“Still, for a stipulated period, I agreed to take no part in politics, that is, in active, day-to-day, politics. In prison, I could not, of course, do any Politics at all. But when outside I could do other kind of work, educational, religious and literary and serve my country in diverse fields. Generals, as prisoners of war, cannot conduct the war and come on the battlefield. They are let off on parole after signing the pledge, like Lord Krishna, who agreed that he would not wield any arms during the continuance of the war. And it is considered no humiliation on their part to do so, and they consider it their duty to do so, in order that, later on, their services might be available to their nation by way of leading and guidance in other work.” (ibid, p.302).
Savarkar did indeed pursue a vigorous campaign of social reform, reform in language and script, Shuddhi (purification or reversion to Hindu fold), scientific outlook as per the conditions of his release.In 1920, most of political prisoners in the Andamans accepted and signed such terms of agreement. “They would abstain from politics and revolutionary activity for a certain number of years and if again they were tried and found guilty of treason, they would come back to the Andamans to serve the remainder of their life-sentence.” (ibid, p.254).
One need not go to New Delhi’s ‘National Archives’ to see Savarkar’s letter which has been presented as a ‘Clemency Letter’. Savarkar himself published the said letter in his book “Letters From Andaman” (letters which he send to his younger brother Dr.Narayan Savarkar from Andaman) as letter no.8 dated 06-07-1920 (original application which he send to British has date 02-4-1920). A significant excerpt of it is as follows:
- Is it true that Savarkar apologized for his deeds to seek release from jail in Andaman Islands?
No. He did not apologize for his deeds.
Savarkar was sentenced to Transportation for Life, TWICE and sent to Andaman Islands to serve that sentence. IT DID NOT MEAN 50 years in jail. After serving a few years (usually 3 to 4) the inmates were allowed to go to work outside the jail and eventually settle on the islands. Savarkar was denied this even after serving 11 years. That was utter barbarity.
At the time of the First World War Savarkar did write to Montague, then Secretary of State for India. He said that –Britain should set up colonial self Government for India
In return Indian revolutionaries would cease all hostilities and help Britain in war effort.
The Governor General eventually replied, ” In the present circumstances it is impossible to give effect to your suggestion.”
NO PLEA FOR CLEMENCY HERE.
Due to outcry about prison conditions on the Andaman Islands the British Authorities decided to close the jail on the islands. Concessions were being made to prisoners who wanted to settle on the islands. But these were denied to Savarkar. He did want to settle on the islands. He was forcibly sent back to mainland India and kept in various prisons for further 3 years.
Is it true that Savarkar’s health deteriorated in the Andamans and hence the Government was compelled to transfer him to Indian prisons in 1921?
In Andaman no medical aid was ever given to political prisoners. British Authorities were absolutely callous in this respect. Savarkar’s elder brother Babarao suffered terribly. The Savarkar brothers were sent back to mainland India not because of failing health but because Government had decided to close down the prison settlement in Andaman, after several years of mounting public pressure in India.
Courtesy : http://www.savarkar.org