Hindu nationalist and freedom fighter, Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, died on 16 March 1945.
While Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is hailed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a freedom fighter and a Hindu nationalist icon, his older sibling GD Savarkar – or Babarao Savarkar, as he was known – who helped set up the RSS, has slipped into obscurity.
On his 72nd death anniversary, here are a few, lesser-known facts about the life and times of Ganesh Damodar Savarkar:
Fanning an Armed Rebellion
Babarao Savarkar single-handedly brought up his two brothers and younger sister, after they lost their parents when he was 20 years old.
Babarao Savarkar distributed weapons among the Indian youth, in a bid to fan an armed rebellion against the British Raj. He also collected money in order to publish the biography of the Italian revolutionary Mazzini.
According to the website, Hindu Janajagruti, Babarao was one of the first to declare that “Hindustan is a Hindu nation”.
Abhinav Bharat Society
Along with VD Savarkar, Babarao co-founded the revolutionary group, the Abhinav Bharat Society, in 1904.
Five years later, AMT Jackson, the district magistrate of Nashik, was assassinated by Anant Kanhare. The probe into the plot, which would later be known as the ‘Nasik Conspiracy Case’, uncovered the existence of the Abhinav Bharat Society and the role of the Savarkar brothers.
According to the Bombay High Court’s website: “Among these thirty-eight persons, one was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. From the evidence, it was clear that Savarkar (with his two brothers) was the brain, leader, and moving spirit of the conspiracy”.
Both Babarao and VD Savarkar were jailed for their role in the assassination.
Also in 1909, a member of the society, Madan Lal Dhingra, gunned down Sir William Curzon-Wyllie, the political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India, in London. Dhingra was hanged later that year.