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November 20, 2009

Veer Savarkar
The 10th of December 2009 marks the centenary of the poem “Ne Majasi Ne” written by Veer Savarkar or Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The poem is one of the most passionately written patriotic poems of all times. Savarkar’s poem is composed into song by Pt. Hridayanath Mangeshkar and sung by Lata Mangeshkar. I have heard and liked this song as a child but never really understood its meaning. Recently, the song was sung in the marathi show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee Marathi. I asked my husband (who has a good knowledge of marathi songs) to explain to me the meaning of this song. I was deeply touched by the poem and so follows this post…..

Savarkar was a revolutionary leader who propounded the idea of Hindutva. He believed that Indian independence could be achieved by an armed revolt and not through negotiations with the British; this made him an opponent of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent means. In 1910, Savarkar was sentenced 50 years of imprisonment at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at the Cellular Jail (also infamously known as Kaala Paani). It was here that Savarkar had penned the poem “Ne Majsi Ne”(although, there are many versions of this story). The poem is a metaphor where Savarkar compares his motherland with his mother and he first demands the sea and latter threatens it to take him back home.

This poem is a classic example of the patriotic spirit of freedom fighters of our country. Savarkar is credited with over10, 000 pages of Marathi literature. Many of which were written in the prison. Rebellious leaders like Savarkar were not provided with the luxury of using a pen and paper, Savarkar used stones and thorns and wrote on the walls of the cellular jail. He made one of his fellow prisoners memorise it. On release, his fellow prisoner published the poems and literature and sent it to his family. In my opinion, this is patriotism personified!

This post about Veer Savarkar today is to remind ourselves that we should be grateful and responsible with our history. Grateful to the numerous people from a generation bygone who tried all means possible to give us a free India. Responsible towards the current and coming generations to pass on our glorious history. How many of us have read Patriotic poems, have tried to understand the circumstances in which they were written, tried to get acquainted with our history more than just what we read in the text books at school (given the availability of resources on the internet). Even, at school how many teachers go beyond what is written in the book to ardently explain the meaning of each historic event or to instil the feeling of patriotism among students? We know the answer. Today India is a fastest growing economy in the world, and racing to be among the developed countries. In this race, to conquer the future we should not leave behind our splendid past. The onus of passing on our culture, our history, and our values to the next generation lies with us. However, how are we going to accomplish this if we ourselves are unaware of it? Let us not leave a chance to learn about our culture and history. If we fail then the generation we bring up next might end up reading stories of political vested interests as part of their history.

Here you can download the song.
Here you can find the poem with its English translation.