Vinayak Damodar Savarkar - Later Life and Death

Later Life and Death

After Gandhi's assassination Savarkar's home in Mumbai was stoned by angry mobs. After he was acquitted of the allegations related to Gandhi's assassination and released from jail, Savarkar was arrested by the Congress government, for making "militant Hindu nationalist speeches", he was released after agreeing to give up political activities. He continued addressing social and cultural elements of Hindutva. He resumed political activism after the ban on it was lifted, it was however limited until his death in 1966 because of ill health. His followers bestowed upon him honours and financial awards when he was alive. His body was visited by over a lakh people, when it lay in repose. Two thousand RSS workers gave his funeral procession a guard of honour. According to McKean, there was public antipathty between Savarkar and the Congress for most of his political career, yet after independence Patel and Deshmukh unsuccessfully sought partnership with the Hindu Mahasabha and Savarkar. It was forbidden for Congress party members to participate in public functions honouring Savarkar. Nehru refused to share the stage during the centenary celebrations of the India's First War of Independence held in Delhi. After the death of Nehru, the Congress government, under Prime Minister Shastri, started to pay him a monthly pension.

In 1966 Savarkar renounced medicines, food and water leading to his death on February 26, 1966. He was mourned by large crowds that attended his cremation. He had written an article 'Atma-hatya or Deh-tyaag', arguing that suicide in most cases is taking one's life, but renouncing life after the body was no longer capable of functioning properly was a different matter. He left behind a son Vishwas and a daughter Prabha Chiplunkar. His first son, Prabhakar, had died in infancy. His home, possessions and other personal relics have been preserved for public display.

According to Kuruvanchira, Savarkar was a national and political ‘non-entity’ in independent India by the time he died and thereafter. After his death, since Savarkar was championing militarization, some thought that it would be fitting if his mortal remains were to be carried on a gun-carriage. A request to that effect was made to the then Defence Minister, Y.B. Chavan, who later on became Deputy Prime Minister of India. But Chavan turned down the proposal and not a single minister from the Maharashtra Cabinet showed up in the cremation ground to pay homage to Savarkar. In New Delhi, the Speaker of the Parliament turned down a request that it pay homage to Savarkar. In fact, after the independence of India, Jawaharlal Nehru had put forward a proposal to demolish the Cellular Jail in the Andamans and build a hospital in its place. When Y.B. Chavan, as the Home Minister of India, went to the Andamans, he was asked whether he would like to visit Savarkar's jail but he was not interested. Also when Morarji Desai went as Prime Minister to the Andamans, he too refused to visit Savarkar's cell.

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