Mitra Mela, a secret organization of the revolutionaries was established by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his brother Ganesh Damodar Savarkar at Nashik in 1899.
It was later renamed Abhinav Bharat Society (Young India Society) in 1904. The society grew to include several hundred revolutionaries and political activists with branches in various parts of India, extending to London after Savarkar went to study law.
It was one among several such melas (revolutionary societies) functioning in Maharashtra at that time, which believed in overthrow of British rule by armed rebellion and therefore carried out a few assassinations of British officials.
In 1906, Vinayak Savarkar left to London to study law. In the same year, he compiled a volume called Mazzini Charitra, a translation of the Italian revolutionary Mazzini’s writings with a 25-page introduction added. The book was published in Maharashtra in June 1907 and the first edition of 2000 copies is said to have sold out within a month. Mazzini’s techniques of secret societies and guerilla warfare were fully embraced by Savarkar.
Savarkar’s revolutionary propaganda led to the assassination of Lt. Col. William Curzon-Wyllie, the political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India, by Madanlal Dhingra on the evening of 1 July 1909, at a meeting of Indian students in the Imperial Institute in London.
Dhingra was arrested and later tried and executed. A. M. T. Jackson, the district magistrate of Nasik, was assassinated in India by Anant Laxman Kanhare in 1909 in the historic “Nasik Conspiracy Case”.
The investigation into the Jackson assassination revealed the existence of the Abhinav Bharat Society and the role of the Savarkar brothers in leading it. Vinayak Savarkar was found to have dispatched twenty Browning pistols to India, one of which was used in the Jackson assassination. He was charged in the Jackson murder and sentenced to “transportation” for life. Savarkar was imprisoned in the Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands in 1910.
The society was formally disbanded in 1952.