Author, Burning for Freedom

Author, Burning for Freedom
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Babarao’s deathbed scene

“O Death! I give you leave to end
The script of my life here,
Squandered not I even a moment of my life,
So the day’s end brings no sorrow to me.”
-         V. D. Savarkar, Upon the Deathbed


Hi, Everyone! It would have been easy enough for me to avoid writing the Savarkar-Babarao deathbed meeting. But I decided not to do so.

With this one scene I could show the deep bond of love between the two brothers as well as the dedication and devotion to India despite the dire circumstances. In this scene I could reveal Savarkar as the epitome of the Karmayoga.

Also, historically early 1945 was a landmark. Savarkar had exposed the treacherous Congress politics to the Indians. He had successfully built up the Hindu Mahasabha to counteract it. Everything could have gone very well for India from here on; there were great hopes for it. But instead, the fate of India and Savarkar’s health went on a fast downward spiral immediately after.

There was a lot riding on this scene for me.

As is the case of most of the information on Savarkar, the facts of this scene are available. But what were his thoughts at the time? What was he feeling? What did he say? For me to write the dialogues of this scene it was essential to understand that.

Fortunately for me, Savarkar’s letter to Babarao, written at this time, is available. Also, he has explored death in his poem Marnonmukh Shaiyyewar (Upon the Deathbed.) With great difficulty and much mental gyrations I had managed to translate this poem. This allowed me to dare to have an insight into Savarkar’s mind.

I felt it was a colossal nerve on my part to attempt such a thing. But for the sake of the novel, I had to do it and put aside that feeling, too. I sat for hours pondering over the scene, until it became real to me as if I was there in the room. Only then did the scene flow out and in one go. This was not a scene where one writes a few lines and then chews the pencil thinking, “Okay, what comes next?”

In my novel I have given the quote from my poem translation, but it is the edited version. The poem is complex and I have put together lines that best highlight the scene. Here is the quote:

O Death! I give you leave to end

The script of my life here,

Squandered not I even a moment of my life,

So the day’s end brings no sorrow to me.

I have no fear, for what we sow here today

That blooms and bears fruit, so they say.

With hardship did I sow,

Choosing the best seeds,

Sowing them without expectation of fruit.
Heaven, hell, rebirth, captivity,

Release from the burden of human life—

All are but the consequence of one’s own actions.

Where the door of Death shall open,

Predetermined it is by us, by the down payment paid

By our deeds and actions along the path of Dharma.

O Death! So, I fear not the graveyard,

What is it but an unfamiliar, foreign land?

And to ease the travel in this land,

Have not I from Lord Krishna

An introduction to every house on the way?”




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