Veer Savarkar Got
arrested In London and Marseille
Ganesh Savarkar had organised an armed revolt against the 1909 Morley-Minto reforms. The British police
implicated Savarkar in the investigation for allegedly plotting the crime. Savarkar moved to Madam Cama's
home in Paris to avoid his arrest. However, Police arrested Savarkar on 13 March 1910. Savarkar. In the
final days of freedom, Savarkar wrote letters to a close friend planning his escape. Knowing that he would
most likely be shipped to India, Savarkar asked his friend to keep track of which ship and route he would
be taken through. On 8 July 1910, Savarkar escaped from the SS Morea when it reached the port of
Marseille, He was expecting that his friend will be waiting for him outside in Car. But his friend was
late in arriving and alarm having raised, and Savarkar got re-arrested.
Taken to Yervada Central Jail
Arriving in Bombay, Savarkar was taken to the Yervada Central Jail in Pune. On 10 September 1910 the trial
before the special trubunal was started. Sacarkar was abetment to murder of Nashik Collector Jackson. The
second was waging a conspiracy under Indian penal code 121-A against the King emperor. Following the two
trials, Savarkar, then aged 28, was convicted and sentenced to 50-years imprisonment and transported on 4
July 1911 to the infamous Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He was not considered by the
British government as a political prisoner.
For certain concessions on connections with his sentences An application was filled by Savarkar. However,
Government rejected his application and he was informed that the question of remitting the second sentence
of transportation for life would be considered in due course on the expiry of the first sentence of
Tansportation for life. A month after arriving in the Cellular Jail, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Savarkar
submitted his first mercy petition on 30 August 1911. This petition was rejected on 3 September 1911.
On 14 November 1913 Savarkar submitted his next mercy petition and presented it personally to the Home
Member of the Governor General's council, Sir Reginald Cradddock. In his letter, asking for forgiveness,
he described himself as a "prodigal son" longing to return to the "parental doors of the government". He
wrote that his release from the jail will recast the faith of many Indians in the British rule. Also, he
said "Moreover, my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in
India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any
capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping
me in jail, nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise."
Savarkar submitted another petition in 1917, this type of general amnesty of all political prisoners.
Savarkar was informed on 1 February 1918 that the mercy petition was placed before the British Indian
Government. In December 1919, there was a Royal proclamation by King-Emperor George V. The Paragraph 6 of
this proclamation included a declaration of Royal clemency to political offenders. In the view of Royal
proclamation, Savarkar submitted his fourth mercy petition to the British Government on 30 March 1920, in
which he stated that "So far from believing in the militant school of the Bukanin type, I do not
contribute even to the peaceful and philosophical anarchism of a Kuropatkin [sic.] or a Tolstoy. And as to
my revolutionary tendencies in the past:- it is not only now for the object of sharing the clemency but
years before this have I informed of and written to the Government in my petitions (1918, 1914) about my
firm intention to abide by the constitution and stand by it as soon as a beginning was made to frame it by
Mr Montagu. Since that the Reforms and then the Proclamation have only confirmed me in my views and
recently I have publicly avowed my faith in and readiness to stand by the side of orderly and
This petition was rejected on 12 July 1920 by the British government. After considering the petition, the
British government contemplated releasing Ganesh Savarkar but not Vinayak Savarkar. The rationale for
doing so was stated as follows:
It may be observed that if Ganesh is released and Vinayak retained in custody, the latter will become in
some measure a hostage for the former, who will see that his own misconduct does not jeopardize his
brother's chances of release at some future date.
In 1920, the Indian National Congress and leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Vithalbhai Patel and Bal
Gangadhar Tilak demanded his unconditional release. Savarkar signed a statement endorsing his trial,
verdict and British law, and renouncing violence, a bargain for freedom.
Freedom with Restriction
The Savarkar brothers were moved to a jail in Ratnagiri on 2 May 1921. During his incarceration in
Ratnagiri jail in 1922, he wrote his "Essentials of Hindutva" that formulated his theory of Hindutva. On 6
January 1924 was released but confined to Ratnagiri District.
Soon after he started working on consolidation of Hindu society or Hindu sanghatan. The colonial
authorities provided a bungalow for him and he was allowed visitors. During his internment, he met
influential people such as Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Ambedkar. Nathuram Godse, who later on in his life
assassinated Gandhi, also met Savarkar for the first time as a nineteen year old in 1929. Savarkar became
a prolific writer during his years of confinement in Ratnagiri. Savarkar remained confined to Ratnagiri
district until 1937. At that time, he was unconditionally released by the newly elected government of