Burning for Freedom : O Goddess of Freedom, Life Is to Die for You, Death Is to Live Without You!

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-06-12
  • Publisher: Textstream
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That Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's contribution to India should be negated to bolster the political aspirations of any political party is unacceptable. Justice demands that he be accorded his rightful place as one of the finest men that India has produced. The truth cannot—and shall not—be hidden! Author's Notes Incredible as it may seem, this is a true story. All facts, incidents, and situations in this novel—whether directly given or referred to in conversations—are true and documented. I have taken particular care in researching the freedom movement of India from many viewpoints to separate the wheat from the chaff. Finding my way through the politics of India between 1942 and 1948 was a challenge! Many times I was taken over by a distinct feeling of being given the runaround by the various accounts. V. P. Menon's book, The Transfer of Power in India, was of invaluable help in getting to the kernel of truth. Funnily enough, the easiest to research was material on Gandhi. Vast amount of it is written in a sycophant style—glossing over pertinent facts in its efforts at eulogizing Gandhi—but fortunately, plenty is still available factually written with no bias either way. Dhananjay Keer's biography on Gandhi is one such masterpiece. Indeed, it reveals many shocking things I have not been able to include in my novel. Sometimes it took months to get to the bottom of things, such as the facts in the case of the 550 million rupeh owed to Pakistan and the sequence of events of the violence in Punjab in 1947, to name but two examples. The Moplah riots, too, are not widely publicized. Fortunately, there is a contemporary eyewitness account that is extant. The words written between quotes in a different font throughout the novel are an actual quote (or its translation) of the person mentioned in connection with it.... Chapter Thirteen 1944 In the ensuing years, Hindu Mahasabha, under the brilliant leadership of Savarkar, had become a force to be considered. Savarkar had made it a point to publicize India's plight internationally. He had sent a telegram, published worldwide, to the President of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt, stating that the Atlantic Charter should recognize India's right to freedom, or else it was no more than a farce. He was the only Indian leader to take this bold stance. By 1942 the United States took an active interest in the fate of India. President Roosevelt forced Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain, into making a move to resolve the Indian situation. But Churchill, being wholly opposed to freeing India, made no more than a perfunctory gesture. He sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India with a proposal bound to be unacceptable to all the Indian parties. Failure was inevitable. Status quo was maintained: Jinnah pushing the Pakistan plan; Congress trying to muscle all other parties out of the reckoning; Savarkar still desperately fighting for the freedom of a United India. Gandhi swore to the Indians: "I would sooner have you vivisect me than India." Yet the Man of Truth, who claimed "Truth is God," lifted not a finger to veto the Delhi resolution passed by the Congress Working Committee accepting Jinnah's Pakistan plan ...! Some outraged Congress members passed resolutions at provincial levels to check this treachery. But Nehru came down heavily upon all and declared that the Delhi resolution superseded all others. The Pakistan scheme encroached upon the freedom movement of India—unsuspected by the Indians—through the backdoor by the machinations of the Congress High Command. In August 1942, Gandhi declared the "Quit India Movement," a culmination of the noncooperation Congress had declared on the Government at the beginning of the war. The slogan was catchy, even romantic—but very, very deceptive. While screaming for the British to leave India—at a very inopportune time with Japan snapping at the boundary and threatening to attack—Gandhi's "Quit India" plan intended that Britain keep her army behind. Britain to quit India in name only ...! It was no more than another grandstand. Jinnah and all the Muslims stayed aloof from this movement. Despite the several drawbacks of this movement, Savarkar offered his support, if and only if, the Congress would declare their goal to be freedom for a United India—no province should be allowed to break away. Unity was paramount. But the Congress would not make that commitment. At the onset, the Government came down severely upon this movement; all the leaders were thrown in jail. Gandhi was held in the Aga Khan palace. Without leadership, the movement, unplanned and unorganized to begin with, went completely haywire. The people, forgetting the principle of nonviolence, indulged in violence and destruction of property. Within two months the movement was ruthlessly quelled. After this ignoble failure, Gandhi went on a twenty-one-day fast for "self-purification." Yet in those very days, he hatched a secret, very impure plot with Rajaji, his close associate and mouthpiece to the Viceroy. July 11, 1944: Savarkar sat on his divan, sipping his tea as he read the morning papers. Suddenly he jerked straight up, slamming the cup, halfway to his lips, back on the saucer. It tipped over, spilling the tea on the end table. Oblivious, Savarkar scrambled up, yelling, "Gajanan! Keshu! Over here, quick!" Keshu and Gajanan rushed into the room to find Savarkar pacing the room in a rage, the Times of India clutched tightly in his hands. "Tatyarao!" exclaimed Gajanan, much alarmed. "What is it?" "It passes all bounds!" Savarkar choked out, holding out the paper. "Here, read this!" The Times of India featured an interview of Gandhi with Stuart Gelder of the News Chronicle, London. Gandhi had come right out in the open and bestowed approval upon Rajaji's proposal conceding Pakistan to Jinnah, if the Muslim League would endorse the demand for freedom. These proposals were, he declared, consistent with national integrity ...! What a back-stabbing move on Gandhi's part, a far cry from his "Vivisect me first" and "Partition is a sin"! "Good God!" cried Keshu. "Does he think he owns Hindustan? On whose authority does he give his blessing to this nefarious proposal?" "Gandhi is overreaching himself!" said Savarkar through tight lips. "At such a time as this too—Linlithgow had made statements in favor of the integrity of United India; Wavell is certainly talking about a United India! All the Indians, too, are staunchly for it. Pakistan doesn't have a leg to stand on, so Gandhi is giving it crutches ...!" "But why is Gandhi doing this?" asked Gajanan. "Vanity? To be in the limelight? To keep sole power in the hands of Congress, perhaps?" Savarkar raged. "Nehru has been heard to say: 'Jinnah is a nuisance; let him take his Pakistan and get out of our hair.' But to act upon such frivolous utterings ...! Obviously, they are willing to hack our Hindustan, our Mother, into two, just to remove competition!" Savarkar stopped his pacing and took a deep breath. "Gajanan, let us commence work. We have to call a meeting of all the HM leaders and contact the leaders of the other parties too. This cannot go unchallenged!" In the coming days, Gandhi gave interview after interview reiterating this very same point. Rajaji, who had been pushing his Pakistan proposal for more than a year now, published his correspondence with Jinnah and declared that he had the Mahatma's blessing all along ...! This was the impure plot the two had cooked up between them during Gandhi's "self-purification" fast. Congress members were horrified at this about-turn of their leader. But after much helpless sputtering they did no more than retire into silence—so conditioned were they to follow the Mahatma's lead.

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