Author, Burning for Freedom

Author, Burning for Freedom
click image for my amazon page or to buy 'Burning for Freedom'

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Savarkar's Proposal for the Constitution of India

I am posting the points of Savarkar's proposed guidelines for the Constitution of India. It is truly democratic. Some of the issues facing India today would surely have been avoided.

Savarkar’s Proposed Guidelines for the
National Constitution of Hindustan

(A) Hindustan from the Indus to the Seas will and must remain as an organic nation and integral centralized state.

(B) The residuary powers shall be vested in the Central Government.

(C) All citizens shall have equal rights and obligations irrespective of caste or creed, race or religion—provided they avow and owe an exclusive and devoted allegiance to the Hindustani State.

(D) The fundamental rights of conscience, of worship, of association etc. will be enjoyed by all citizens alike; whatever restrictions will be imposed on them in the interest of the public peace and order or national emergency will not be based on any religious or racial considerations alone but on common national ground.

(E) “One man, one vote” will be the general rule irrespective of creed, caste, race, or religion.

(F) Representation in the Legislature etc. shall be in proportion to the population of the majority and minorities.

(G) Services shall go by merit alone.

(H) All minorities shall be given effective safeguards to protect their language, religion, culture etc. but none of them shall be allowed to create “a state within a state” or to encroach upon the legitimate rights of the majority.

(I) All minorities may have separate schools to train their children in their own tongue, religion, or culture, and can receive government help also for these, but always in proportion to the taxes they pay into the common exchequer.

(J) In case the constitution is not based on joint electorates and on the unalloyed national principle of one man one vote but is based on the communal basis, then those minorities who wish to have separate electorates or reserve seats will be allowed to have them, but always in proportion to their population and provided that it does not deprive the majority also of an equal right in proportion to its population too.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tribute to the "Vande Mataram"

“Mother, Mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!”
-         Sri Aurobindo Ghosh (translation of Vande Mataram)

Hi, Everyone! On the occasion of the Republic day of India, I want to talk on the patriotic song Vande Mataram.

January 26, 1950, was the day the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act of 1935 as the governing document of India. It was a big step forward for India.

Two days before this on January 24, 1950, an important decision was made in the Constituent Assembly. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who was presiding over it, stated:

“The composition consisting of words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations as the Government may authorize as occasion arises, and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honored equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it. (Applause) I hope this will satisfy members. (Constituent Assembly of India, Vol. XII, 24-1-1950)

This was adopted as the final and binding statement on this issue.

Equal honor, equal status to the National Anthem—yes, if Vande Mataram couldn’t actually be the National Anthem, it certainly deserved that. It is not just any song.

The Vande Mataram was composed in 1882 by Bankimchandra Chatterjee in a mixture of Bengali and Sanskrit and published in his book Anandmath featuring the Sanyasi Rebellion. The first political occasion where it was sung was the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. Before long the poem took the freedom fighters by storm. It became the slogan, the greeting, the national cry of the freedom fighters. In 1907, Madame Cama unfurled the national flag of India—the words “Vande Mataram” proudly emblazoned across the center of it.

The Vande Mataram and its translations in many national and international languages got international recognition as the “war cry” of Indian freedom fighters even as early as 1906! So much so, that even the Indian National Congress adopted the first two versus of it as their national song in 1937.

Below is the cutting from the Gaelic American, October 27, 1906. It says: "The new Indian war cry, Bande Mataram, (Hail, Motherland), which the Gaelic American gave last week in Bengalee, Mahrati, Punjabee, Gaelic and English, will be found below in Hindustani, Persian and Arabic. Next week it will be given in other languages spoken in India, or in the neighboring countries, showing the extent to which the combination against British rule is spreading in the East."

Unfortunately, the Vande Mataram has been tangled up in politics, labeled as a Hindu  song, and caught up in controversy since the 1930s. Even today the argument continues.

There is a verse where Mother India is likened to Hindu Goddesses, which is quite natural since the poet is Hindu and the poem belongs to a book on Hindu Sanyasis’ rebellion (historically the "Sanyasi Rebellion" includes rebellion by Muslim Fakirs. There were several separate incidents in the late 18th century.) In the freedom movement the Vande Mataram was a symbol of Indian Nationalism. The song thrums with patriotism and love for the motherland. It was not associated with religion.

(Find the original lyrics with prose and poetic English translations by Sri Aurobindo Ghosh here:

And an insight into Bankim Chatterji’s possible inspiration here:

Despite the honor and status conferred upon it by the Constituent Assembly in 1950, this stamp of being “Hindu” might have caused the Vande Mataram to fade into obscurity.

But how can a song from which drips the blood of the freedom fighters of India, in which we hear their screech for freedom, and which oozes patriotic fervor and devout passion for their motherland just disappear from Indian memory?

Even so, one must be ever grateful to the Indian artistes for immortalizing it. Superstar Lata Mangeshkar’s melodious voice echoed all over India singing Vande Mataram in the movie Anand Math directed by Hemen Gupta in 1952. Watch it here:

All India Radio and Doordarshan kept it fresh and alive in Indian hearts.
(Here is the Doordarshan clip:

And A. R. Rahman, the super-talented, patriotic composer (and much, much more) of international fame took it to new heights with the release of his album Vande Mataram in celebration of India’s fifty years of independence in 1997.

Vande Mataram, sung by various artistes, then reached the pinnacle when it ranked second in the top ten songs (out of 7000 songs worldwide) in an international poll conducted by BBC World Service in 2003!!

The Vande Mataram is today rendered by many artistes in song CDs, video albums, movies, and more.

It will echo in the hearts and minds generation after generation; it will continue to get the honor it deserves and; it will keep the Indian patriotic flame burning bright.

Vande Mataram,


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Great Pyramid Explanation, Efrem Piccin

“A man can do all things if he but wills them.”

-         Leon Battista Alberti

Hi, Everyone! As of yesterday, I started work on another project which excites me greatly—the translation of the Italian book Hemuinu, l’Architetto by Efrem Piccin. When I say translate, I really mean attempt to translate, for I do not know Italian. But I have made a successful beginning and am greatly encouraged by it! My undying gratitude to Google (Google translate, in this case) and modern technology that makes such miracles possible.

This is one of those things one never dreams of, and yet it happens . . . ! I consider it a great honor to be associated with such a work of deep research on the Great Pyramid of Giza, in any capacity. I have always been fascinated—absolutely riveted—by the Great Pyramid since my childhood. I read and collect all kinds of books on it. I have the greatest respect for anyone who genuinely researches them—and they are so few, at least as far as the general public knows—irrespective of what their theory may be.

Efrem Piccin, a professor of physics in Italy, is one such who has devoted 8 years of his life to his research of the Great Pyramid. He has made actual models to illustrate his hypothesis, photographs of which are available for study for those who buy his book. His book has been released in the end of 2012. It is available here:

I got to know Efrem quite by accident. When I was in the throes of editing my novel—and going stark, raving mad—I decided to take a break by hunting online for info on the GP. For two days I hunted obsessively (as I am wont to do) with not too many results. It is a strange thing, but almost everyone posts (and writes) of only one section of the GP which gives the location of the King’s Chamber and the Queen’s Chamber. But how—I very much wanted to know—were they located along the other plane? Were they offset from the center? By how much? There is great paucity of material on that. And just I was giving up, I came across a website (at the time, I did not even register the name) where there was a mention of this info.

I was so utterly grateful I dashed of an email from the “contact us” unloading my mind of this problem and asking for help. The very next day I got a reply—in Italian . . . !!—along with a wonderful, wonderful architectural section of the GP that I have never seen before. Fortunately, my venture into translating French documents using Google translate, left me unfazed when faced with the Italian words. I was able to read and reply to Efrem’s e-mail. Soon we were writing regularly. In fact, I have developed quite an efficient system of writing the emails and double-checking to make sure what I have written is what I intend to say.

I was very impressed with Efrem and his dedication to his research. To me it seemed imperative that such a research must be made available to the world at large. And that meant an English version. It was going to be difficult for him to get that done. That is when I offered to attempt the translation myself. I figured it cannot hurt and something is better than nothing.

Efrem was quite taken aback, I’m sure!! He demurred: it is an academic book, he said, and quite, quite complicated. Even knowing Italian, it is difficult—apparently—to grasp. I suppose he thought I had colossal nerve!! And perhaps I did!

But as I pointed out to him, I am an architect, an author, and have been fascinated by the GP for more than 25 years. That’s quite an unbeatable combination. Now if only I knew Italian . . .

Anyway, cautiously he came around to the idea and I am very, very honored that he has trusted me with his manuscript. It is quite a big deal to hand over an electronic copy of one’s manuscript to a stranger!

Anyway, so here I am. I do believe that one can do anything, if only one has the right motivation (and perseverance, faith and belief in oneself.) All the same I am relieved to know that I am able to translate Efrem’s book. I have my fingers crossed for grasping the technical aspects (haven’t come to that part yet) of the book in Italian, but I intend to make a jolly good effort!  

 I wish Efrem Piccin the best for his book.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Savarkar’s Petitions: The Double Standards of Savarkar-Bashers

"Hindusthan, our very own Motherland!
To us Hindus she is everything,
Our life and our very soul."

- V. D. Savarkar, Amucha Swadesh Hindusthan (Hindustan, Our Motherland)


Hi, Everyone! Savarkar-bashers write of Savarkar’s petitions as if they are some dirty secrets that they have exposed—for dramatic effect, I suppose. For most certainly they were neither "dirty" not secret! Savarkar himself has written all about his various petitions, even given a gist of some of them in his My Transportation for Life which was first published in 1927.

·  Savarkar-bashers also use quotes from these petitions to bolster their claim that Savarkar sacrificed India and became a British loyalist.

Since Savarkar’s openly avowed precept is that in the freedom struggle petitions and pledges made to the enemy (the British in this case) when incarcerated are not binding. No patriot of India was honor bound to follow their dictates.

As such, it is ridiculous to brandish any quotes praising the British from his petitions as proof. Savarkar’s petitions were made under duress—of being incarcerated—and can certainly not be considered as a free and willing expression of Savarkar’s sentiments.

·  And Savarkar’s actions before, during, and after writing these petitions are a testament of his patriotism, his devotion, and his dedication to the cause of India’s freedom.

I consider this act of besmirching the character of such a fine, upstanding freedom fighter as Savarkar a dastardly act.

But for a moment I shall put aside the view that Savarkar-bashers are doing this from some base desire to throw mud at Savarkar and unjustly shred his reputation as a freedom fighter and a man.

·  For a moment, I shall consider that these Savarkar-bashers are genuinely stirred to horror by any freedom fighter who utters a praise of the British.

In that case, though, they should be equally vociferous in denouncing other freedom fighters. Yet one doesn’t hear a peep out of them even in mild reproof of Gandhi—who is the honorary "Father of the Nation," who popularly is supposed to have won India her freedom—and his oft-declared loyalty to the British and evidence of intimacy and familiarity with the Viceroys and other British officials.

Here are some telling examples:

·  Here is a Gandhi-quote begging to support the resolution in the War Conference of Viceroy Lord Chelmsford.

"So I attended the Conference. The Viceroy was very keen on my supporting the resolution about recruiting. . . . I had no speech to make. I spoke but one sentence to this effect,

‘With a full sense of my responsibility, I beg to support the resolution.’" Vide An Autobiography, Part V; Ch. XXVII.

·  Gandhi’s letter to the Viceroy Chelmsford written in 1918.

"If I could make my countrymen retrace their steps, I would make them withdraw all the Congress resolutions, and not whisper ‘Home Rule’ or ‘Responsible Government’ during the pendency of the war. I would make India offer all her able-bodied sons as a sacrifice to the Empire at its critical moment . . .

I write this, because I love the English Nation, and I wish to evoke in every Indian the loyalty of the Englishman.

I remain,
Your Excellency’s faithful servant,

M. K. GANDHI"[1]
·  Gandhi’s speech for recruiting Indians in WWI

"'Recruits whom we would raise would be Home Rulers. They would go to fight for the Empire; but they would so fight because they aspire to become partners in it.’
The Bombay Chronicle, 17-6-1918"

·  On January 5, 1922—before the Noncooperation movement supposedly aiming for freedom was called off—Gandhi said in his magazine Young India:

"It will be unlawful for us to insist on independence. For it will be vindictive and petulant. It will be a denial of God."

·  Just before Gandhi embarked on his Salt Satyagraha, in 1930, he wrote a letter to Viceroy Lord Irwin. The letter was addressed and signed in this peculiar manner. (Gandhi has written other official letters to various Viceroys also addressed in this unseemly manner.)

"Dear friend,
God willing, it is my intention . . .
I am,
Your sincere friend,
M. K. Gandhi

Also, Viceroy Linlithgow records that Sastri told him of a conversation with Gandhi in which "He had said to Gandhi: ‘If you see the Viceroy I guarantee you will come out a conquered man and you will be his man henceforth,’ to which Gandhi had replied: ‘I wish to be conquered.’[2]
·  Gandhi’s reply to Viceroy Linlithgow in 1939:
"I have great regard for you. I feel there is a sympathetic bond between us. I feel, too, that I should rely on your honour . . ."[3]

There are so many more such Gandhi-quotes and references available.

· Why is there no uproar over them?

I shall now point out a couple of shockers of Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India.

·  Free India’s first Prime Minister thinks of his himself as an "Englishman"!!

A little snippet from an interview of John Kenneth Galbraith by Arun Venugopal:

"While the pace of his day has slowed down, John Kenneth Galbraith's mind remains vibrant and unrelenting. He also talks of his close friendship with Nehru, who figures in his book Name-Dropping.

‘You realise, Galbraith,’ Nehru had once told him, ‘I am the last Englishman to rule in India.’"

Read the whole interview

·  Not only this, but Nehru’s affair with Lady Mountbatten certainly disqualified him from being eligible as a Prime Minister. The first Prime Minister of free India carrying on a clandestine affair with a married member of the British royalty . . . ![4]

So why has a curtain been dropped on all these (and more) genuine skeletons rattling about in the Congress closets—and why instead is Savarkar being vilified on unfounded facts?



[1] Viceroy’s April 29, 1918, letter.
[2] Viceroy’s April 29, 1918, letter.
[3] Viceroy’s April 29, 1918, letter.
[4] There is documentation available for this. I intend to write a separate series on this topic in my blog.  Read Indian Summer by Alex Von Tunzelmann for more.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Truth re Savarkar’s “Mercy” Petitions, Part II

“O beautiful Hindusthan! Our very soul you are!
  O beloved Hindusthan, the most delightful one of all you are! . . .
  You are our Holy land! Our Father land!
  Our Honor and our Pride!
-         V. D. Savarkar, Priyakar Hindusthan (Beloved Hindustan)


Hi, Everyone! Savarkar never advocated the jail-going policy for any freedom fighter. He considered it a duty of every patriot unlucky enough to find himself in jail to free himself posthaste by resorting to any available means. Naturally, when incarcerated in the Cellular Jail, he himself assiduously carried out this duty—by the only way available to him: petitioning.

All his life Savarkar, like a true Karmayogi, only followed the path of his duty without any thought to personal gain. He never sacrificed his principles; he never ever, even for a moment, sacrificed his beloved motherland. Anyone who takes the trouble to read what Savarkar has recorded of himself and India’s history—without being blinded by the maligning rhetoric—will see the truth of this.

I don’t consider myself a person of extraordinary intellect. So if I can see the truth of Savarkar so plainly, why can’t the many anti-Savarkar propagandists who are so vociferously denigrating him do so? I can even understand—though not condone—the injustice to Savarkar that happened in historical times. But why does it continue till today?

·     What powerful ulterior motive is operating this anti-Savarkar propaganda?

It is most shameful that there are so many Indian leaders, magazines, authors, and prominent personalities concentrating their energies in unjustly smashing to smithereens the pristine character and reputation of one of the foremost freedom fighters of India.

It is most shameful that Indians are allowing such a thing to happen.

In the last three posts, I have put before you justification of Savarkar’s petitions. Savarkar’s reasons for his petitions are entirely consistent with his principles, his strategies, and his unparalleled love for his motherland. Through his horrendous incarceration in the Cellular Jail, and indeed all his life, Savarkar’s every thought and deed was for the good of his country.

·     But I ask you: if it were not so. If Savarkar made his petitions only to be free, or only to have a slightly less arduous hardship while incarcerated would that be any reason to rip his reputation and character to shreds?

Would these holier-than-thou anti-Savarkar propagandists suffer a fraction of what Savarkar suffered and not be turned into sniveling cowards?

·     Would they have left the safety of Paris and returned to London to face the wrath of the British just to set an example to the other revolutionaries?

·     Would they have the guts to execute the daring escape at Marseilles?

·     Would they have remained uncrushed at being kidnapped by the British officers and hustled back aboard the SS Morea to a horrendous fate?

·     Would they have faced with equanimity the fifty-year sentence of transportation imposed after another round of unjust and contrived trials?

·     Would they have survived the solitary isolation of the Cellular Jail?

·     Would they have survived being yoked to the oil mill there?

·     Would they have survived the beatings, the insults, the hard labor, the atrocious hygiene?

No they would not!

And so, even if they could not grasp the extraordinary character of Savarkar, even if understanding his burning passion to free his motherland and all that it drove him to do was beyond them—they should never have dared point callous and unfeeling fingers of aspersions toward Savarkar. 

Savarkar suffered all of the above and yet not one iota of his passion to free his country was dimmed. Under the most abject and horrendous circumstances, despite the very many injustices heaped upon him, he prevailed.

Detractors will do what they will do. But I do hope, readers, that you will not blindly swallow their vituperation of Savarkar.



Friday, January 4, 2013

The Truth re Savarkar’s “Mercy” Petitions

“My body as sacrifice in the blazing fire I offer,
T’is but a first installment of this debt!
Over and over in every lifetime, give this body I will,
Into the holy pyre of your liberation.”
-         V. D. Savarkar, Pahila Hapta (First Installment)


Hi, Everyone! In the last couple of posts I gave a look-see into Savarkar’s beliefs re petitions and pledges. It certainly gives irrefutable justification for any petition Savarkar made.

But the point I want to make in this post (and the next) is that—even if such undeniable justification did not exist—there is nothing demeaning or improper in Savarkar’s petitions to the Andaman authorities.

I have deliberately used the words “Savarkar’s ‘Mercy’ Petitions” in the title of this post. Savarkar’s detractors have brandished these words year after year until the facts and Savarkar’s character have been distorted beyond recognition.

The words “Mercy Petition” put together so seem to lend credence to the claim that Savarkar was begging for forgiveness and compassion. But it is no more than a clever wielding of words by his detractors.

·     In actual fact, Savarkar’s petition was a perfectly normal and clever legal maneuver he made use of to try to gain freedom.

What is the definition of “petition”?

·     It is “a formally drawn request that is addressed to a person or group of persons in authority: a petition for clemency; a petition for the repeal of an unfair law.”

In Andaman, the only way to communicate with the authority—with any hope of being heeded—was by way of petitioning.

The justification of using the word “mercy,” is given by quoting Sir Reginald Craddock’s words, “Savarkar’s petition is one of mercy.” A closer look at Craddock’s statement makes it quite clear that Craddock is using the word “mercy” to classify Savarkar’s petition (as opposed to the petitions of the other four political prisoners being more in the form of complaints.)

What does the word “mercy” mean here?

·        It is “the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment.”

It is in this capacity that Craddock has used the word “mercy.” His entire report makes it quite clear that there was very little of “begging for forgiveness” or anything like it in Savarkar’s petition or demeanor. Check what Craddock’s next sentence is:

“Savarkar’s petition is one of mercy. He cannot be said to express any regret or repentance, but he affects to have changed his views.

The second sentence and particularly the word “affects” makes it crystal clear that Craddock did not for a second believe Savarkar meant a word he wrote in the petition. When taken out of context quotes can be very misleading. By using only the first sentence the Savarkar-bashers have misrepresented the truth.

In actual fact, Savarkar’s petition is drawn up simply and concisely giving just arguments. There is no undue praise of the British, nor are there any avowals of loyalty. The language used is what was generally used to draw up formal petitions. On the link below, read Savarkar’s petition for yourself to see the truth of my words:

But Savarkar-bashers have used the words “mercy” and “petition” with additional malicious words like “demeaning apologies and abject undertakings” thrown into the pot to create powerful—but erroneous—word pictures.

·        Savarkar’s perfectly innocuous and normal petition has been given the cloak of “appealing, entreating, begging” etc. and from thence leading to accusations of Savarkar sacrificing his motherland and becoming loyal to the British.

If the readers do not bother to read Savarkar’s actual petition, they will believe the malicious spiel—spouted year after year—to be true.

And the anti-Savarkar propaganda thrives in this breeding-ground.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Savarkar and Petitions


“O Mother, O Our Queen! Who will dare insult you?
Countless Sons you have to give up their very life for you!
To defend your honor and virtue, willingly die we shall!
Slash the enemy in battle,
And offer you a bath of blood we shall!
-         V. D. Savarkar, Priyakar Hindusthan (Beloved Hindustan)


Hi, Everyone! Almost from the time he was brought to the Cellular Jail, Savarkar began petitioning to loosen the shackles that held him within its walls. Freedom lay only beyond its walls. But the Cellular Jail was a fortress impossible to escape from. The only way to get out was by the permission of the authorities—either by being allowed to work outside, or being transferred to the mainland jails, or any which way that worked. The only way to get permission of the authorities was to make petitions. And so Savarkar petitioned.

The need of the hour was great, very great, indeed. Savarkar, with his incredible political acumen, had predicted[1] a major war involving Britain in the near future. It was the ideal opportunity to stage a revolution. Savarkar was desperate to be free to organize this revolution that would set his beloved India free.

But the British were very much aware of Savarkar’s aspirations and his certain capabilities to see them through. So much so that here is an excerpt from the report drawn up by Craddock (upon reviewing Savarkar’s petition and after an interview with him) which makes it clear how important it was for the British to keep Savarkar’s wings clipped:

“In the case of Savarkar, it is impossible to give him any liberty here at all; so important a leader is he that the European section of the Indian anarchists will certainly organize his escape from any jail. Even from the island it is easy to escape; just charter a steamer and with plying money the rest is easy. For him hard labor within the Cellular Jail is the only option.”

After this, there was no more any hope for Savarkar that he would be allowed to work outside the Cellular Jail. Incredibly, despite all the restrictions and the unendurable circumstances, Savarkar had still managed to establish a spy system within and without the jail. Secret communications were maintained with his associates in Europe and the U. S. During WWI a German Cruiser, Emdem, was designated by the Kaiser Wilhelm II to rescue Savarkar from the Cellular Jail. This is a documented fact. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Savarkar has very frankly given details of what he did (and why) in his My Transportation for Life ( There is no need to speculate, cast aspersions, or play guessing games. It is all there to read. And he wrote this while still in British bondage in Ratnagiri. He wrote this when he was under pledge to stay away from politics, when his every written and spoken word was scrutinized, and the fear that his fifty-year sentence would be reinstated was hanging over his neck like the Sword of Damocles.

Not only did he write this book (he had also written Essentials of Hindutva in 1923 while actually incarcerated!) he also carried on clandestinely working for the freedom of his India.

When he was completely free in 1937, he swooped upon the political scene and threw his heart and soul into the gaining of freedom for an United India. He had developed the Hindu Mahasabha to be a strong contestant for the Hindu seats. But the gullible Hindus voted for the Congress instead. And India paid the price.

The point I wish to make by recounting this is:

·        Can these be the actions of a man who has forsaken his country? One who has switched loyalty from his beloved motherland to that of her enslavers, the British?

·        Can these be the actions of a man who is utterly demoralized and exposes himself by making “demeaning apologies and abject undertakings”?


It is ridiculous and entirely contradicted by facts to claim so, but that does not prevent the anti-Savarkar propagandists from spreading their spiteful, maligning, and virulent lies.

And while there are undiscerning readers who will swallow blindly any tale told to them, the mud thrown at Savarkar sticks.

·        Savarkar’s actions and his beliefs tell the true tale, though!

In the next couple of posts I shall show that even if that were not the case, there is still nothing shameful about Savarkar’s petitions.




[1] Savarkar’s prediction was published in the first issue of Talwar.