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Publisher's Summary

As the intellectual fountainhead of the ideology of Hindutva, which is in political ascendancy in India today, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is undoubtedly one of the most contentious political thinkers and leaders of the 20th century.

Accounts of his eventful and stormy life have oscillated from eulogizing hagiographies to disparaging demonization. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between and has unfortunately never been brought to light. Savarkar and his ideology stood as one of the strongest and most virulent opponents of Gandhi, his pacifist philosophy, and the Indian National Congress.

An alleged atheist and a staunch rationalist who opposed orthodox Hindu beliefs, encouraged inter-caste marriage and dining, and dismissed cow worship as mere superstition, Savarkar was, arguably, the most vocal political voice for the Hindu community through the entire course of India's freedom struggle. From the heady days of revolution and generating international support for the cause of India's freedom as a law student in London, Savarkar found himself arrested, unfairly tried for sedition, transported and incarcerated at the Cellular Jail, in the Andamans, for more than a decade, where he underwent unimaginable torture.

From being an optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the 1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him in the Cellular Jail to a proponent of "Hindutva", which viewed Muslims with suspicion?

Drawing from a vast range of original archival documents across India and abroad, this biography in two parts - the first focusing on the years leading up to his incarceration and eventual release from the Kalapani - puts Savarkar, his life, and his philosophy in a new perspective and looks at the man with all his achievements and failings.

©2019 Vikram Sampath (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The first serious biography of Savarkar in English, this book allows us to understand a man whose ideas have come to define contemporary India." (Faisal Devji, professor of Indian history, University of Oxford)

"A gripping narrative.... We get a rich portrait of Savarkar as a poet and writer as well as a political activist and theorist." (Sugata Bose, Gardiner professor of history, Harvard University)

"Vikram Sampath's brilliant biography demystifies the man, the thinker and the leader. Far from being a hagiography, the book is essential reading for all those interested in contemporary India and the rise of Hindutva." (Amitabh Mattoo, professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University)

What listeners say about Savarkar: Echoes of a Forgotton Past, Vol. 1: Part 2

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Pranam Veer Savarkar jee Vande Mataram

I strongly recommend all to read and understand what real Bharat was and is made up of.

Thanks to the Author Shri Vikram Sampath who took us in the past and made us understand of Veer Savarkar jee, his journey of life, his devotion & love to our nation, his very valuable thoughts which were even very clear while he was subjected to many hardships.

About his entire families love and devotion to our nation.

In the process one can even understand as to happening of the past which reflect even today.

It really would be very interesting to read Veer Savarkar’s books and poems which he wrote.

He really had a clear thought about Bharat.

Vande Mataram
Bharat Mata ki Jai

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An Eye Opener

The last 3 chapters especially are very engaging. Very informative and makes one wonder if he was ahead of his time in terms of thoughts and rationality and liberal world view.

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Exceeds expectations

This is part 2 of the first volume. Thoroughly researched book. the author has gone to great lengths to present the facts without any bias. Vikram has done great service to Savarkar and also the country with his work. it is a must read for anyone interested in Indian history.