Author, Burning for Freedom

Author, Burning for Freedom
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 7: Marseilles Escape

The 30' fall 
Singlehandedly, Savarkar was responsible for casting a blight on the might of the British Raj and causing it much embarrassment:

(1) To grant the warrant of extradition of Savarkar to Bombay, the British legal system in Britain—so proud of their fairness and laws—compromised itself.
(2) Britain, the Refuge of Political Refugees, who battled with other countries and put spokes in their wheels by giving asylum to political refugees, was now in the position of inventing, disregarding, and breaking laws to squash one colossal danger to their empire: Savarkar.

SS Morea showing location of the porthole

·        July 1, 1910: the SS Morea sailed with Savarkar on board. Knowing that failure would mean a horrendous fate, he still undertook to do the impossible for the tremendous international publicity and recognition it would bring to the Indian freedom cause.

·        July 8, 1910: in the early morning, Savarkar squeezed out of a 13" diameter porthole of a toilet—while a British officer was right outside and he was spotted dangling half in-half out—and dropped to the quay water (a drop of 30') just 2-3 feet away from the edge of the dock. It was the most dangerous, dashing, and daring dive.

·        Before his flabbergasted guards could formulate a plan of action, Savarkar swam to the other end of the dock, climbed the 9' sheer quay wall—using mere toes and fingers to grip—and ran for safety.

·        This created an unprecedented (till today) international situation. To counteract it, the British officers guarding him did the only thing they could do:

(1)  broke the basic international law of jurisdiction

(2)  kidnapped Savarkar off the shores of Marseilles and back to the SS Morea taking aid of a French sergeant for the sake of appearances and

(3)  sent a doctored, not-so-truthful-account to their superiors by telegram.


 -  Anurupa

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