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1910, #VeerSavarkar was sentenced to 50 yrs of rigorous imprisonment till 1960, was given to cut & untangle coiled rope into pieces,break it,spin it & again make threads of it, it was called ‘picking oakum’. His hands would get cracks & blisters with blood oozing out of them.
Europe was applauding him as a martyr,Henery Cotton (president,1904 Congress Session,Bombay)
hoped that International court of justice would restore him back to France
William Wedderburn & Surendra Nath Banerji of Congress declared they had nothing to do with #VeerSavarkar
Running down #VeerSavarkar as a traitor became a handy tool to save one’s skin & prestige. An Anglo Indian News paper wrote, “the rascal has at last met his fate.”
He was shifted from Dongri to Byculla,later to Thana
His meals were dry jawari roti that he pushed down with water.
He wrote petition for milk & some of his books which were taken away or at least a Bible. “No milk, shall see about the Bible.”, came the reply.
His trunk, clothes & books, his articles, his Bhagvatgita & spectacles were to be sold by public auction.
#VeerSavarkar persuaded his Hindu wardens to buy his possessions so that they can be put to better use, at least Indians & their children use his clothes & books rather than the foreigners buying them as loot.
He’d submitted an appeal that 2 sentences of 25 yrs passed on him be run cocurrently
He quoted sections of Penal Code- ‘Life sentence was a period of active work in a man’s life’,In England it was 14 yrs,in India 25’
#VeerSavarkar was sentenced to full period of 50yrs hard labour
Shackles on his feet,hand cuffs,tied to an officer’s hand, #VeerSavarkar was put onto a train to Madras. From there on to the ship to Andamans with 50 prisoners,thieves,decoits inured to filth,cruelity & crime, in a cage that could accomodate 25-30.
Their feet touched each other’s heads,they relaesed themselves there itself. During the day they were taken on the deck of the ship for half an hour.
In Port Blair,baluchi & Pathan prisoners had Muslim wardens
Hindu prisoners had to suffer Muslim wardens & fellow Muslim prisoners
Yoked like animals to the wheel of grinding mill to complete 30 pounds of coconut oil for continuously 2 months, followed by one month of picking oakum was the cycle of work given to #VeerSavarkar
There was no water to wash hands,2 cups drinking water was permitted while on kolu
#VeerSavarkar used to hide a pointed nail in the bolt of his door & for full 14 yrs of imprisonments would begin to write on the walls soon as he was locked up in his cell
His poem Kamla was written on walls of 17th division
In one cell he wrote definations of political economy.
He used the prison walls to educate the political prisoners brought into the rooms where Savarkar was, on sundays,he delivered lectures to them. Once a year walls were painted & #VeerSavarkar got fresh walls to write upon,only challange was to learn them by heart in that 1 year.
1911 to 1921, #VeerSavarkar was in Andamans. On 2 May 1921, he was moved to a jail in Ratnagiri, and later to Yerwada Central Jail.
In 1910 in Dongri jail Veer Savarkar was stripped of his clothes which were given back to him to wear only on 6th may 1924!
“Right from the start, whenever I administered the oath of Abhinav Bharat, I made the newcomers aware of the sacrifices they’ll have to make, forego their houses, property, pleasures of life, reputation, affection of the beloved, & be ready for death”. - #VeerSavarkar
Captain Blair (Port Blair derives its name from him) Engineer Colebrooke in 1766 tried to turn Andamans into a regular settelement, 1st prisoners perished to last man, 1857 mutineers were also sent there.
None recorded story of their imprisonment in Andamans before #VeerSavarkar
“Savarkar is father of unrest in Andamans,he’s to be given no quarter & shown no mercy.” -Mr. Barrie
They refused to designate #VeerSavarkar as a political prisoner, was kept in solitary cell,block No.7,Silver Jail
For oil mill work he was taken to barrack no.6 at 6am -10 pm.
#VeerSavarkar started a campaign of resistance & shuddhi in Jail in 1913 - 1922,logged 1st complaint of forced conversion in 1913
Muslim warders & jamadars thrashed young Hindu prisoners & also lured them with tobaco & sweets advicing them to convert to end all their troubles.
They would be circumcized,made to dine with muslim prisoners
#VeerSavarkar put up effective check on forced conversions, carried out Shuddhis, some Christian convert from Cylone were also reconverted. Shuddhi movement faced clashes Savarkar’s elder brother was attacked by muslims
Political prisoners who went on strike were put in shackels,hand cuffs, solitary confinement,week long punishments,put on conji & large doses of quinine to weaken their resistance power,harnessed to carriages etc.
#VeerSavarkar headed 4 strikes during his imprisonment, last one ended in 1914 after which few prisoners including him were detained,rest were sent back to India.
As per Silver Jail regulations,prisoners were free with in 6 months to a year,longest detainment was 3 years.
May 1857,in Meerut, Indian regiments had broken into an open revolt against British
same town in May 1914,a plot was discovered to start a revolution with Army rising in mutiny against Government
same time German submarines were manouvering in Andaman waters to attack the islands
#VeerSavarkar ‘s younger brother was carrying on a propoganda under his name to get the political prisoners released, he would make copies of Savarkar’s annual letters( was allowed 1 open letter annually ) & send them to all leaders, some published them in local news papers.
When the 4th strike was declared, #VeerSavarkar had asked permission to address an open letter to Mr. Montagu.
He sent it with a freed political prisoner with instructions of endorsing it with thousands of signatures, hold meetings to support the release of the revolutionaries.
#VeerSavarkar clearly stated in the petition that his objective was not to secure his own freedom but of all political prisoners even if they detained him & freed the rest
after a prolonged agitation led by him, a Commission was appointed to report about reforms in Andaman jails.
#VeerSavarkar gave them full story of the prosecution of one prisoner Bhan Singh, in one and a half hour of discussion he narrated his experience in the jail.
The Commission called for written statements four or five political prisoners including Savarkar.
#VeerSavarkar covered the whole ground of criminal law,system of prision administration from Borstal system in England to experiments in America on the European continent & embodied the gist in the petition.
#VeerSavarkar ‘s memorandum to the Comission consisted of proposals of using criminal prisoners to develop the Andaman settelments with improved engineering, sanitation,
turning them into healthy resorts, & fortifying them into great Naval Base for the defense of India
The British planned to turn out whole Andamans into personal estate by putting out plots on sale & governament coconut & betelnut plantion soon as numbers of prisoners sent there reduced.
The Christian missionaries took full advantage of this,
same was denied to Indians.
Meanwhile the National Union of Bombay had submitted a petition signed by 70,000 to the Government for the release of political prisoners and made a special mention of the Svarkar brothers.
The concessions given to other prisoners at end of 5 yrs were denied to #VeerSavarkar
others had got tickets to live outside prison in Andamans,make a home & earn livelihood after 3yrs in jail
Savarkar got no benifit of any plea that he wrote to improve life of other prisoners
“If I was not to be set free on stepping into India,I prefer to be kept in Andamans to serve my whole term of imprisonment, I have finished my 10 years in jail,I should be allowed to settele in the Andamans as a free person or on a ticket to which I was entitled.”
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