Vinayak Damodar Savarkar commonly known as ‘Swatantryaveer Savarkar’ in Marathi language, was an Indian independence activist and politician who formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva. He was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. Savarkar was an atheist and also a pragmatic practitioner of Hindu philosophy.⁣

He was born on 28th May 1883 in village of Bhagur, near the city of Nashik, Maharashtra. Savarkar began his political activities as a high school student and continued to do so at Fergusson College in Pune. ⁣

He and his brother founded a secret society called Abhinav Bharat Society. When he went to the United Kingdom for his law studies, he involved himself with organizations such as India House and the Free India Society. ⁣

In his book ‘The History of the War of Indian Independence’, he analysed the circumstances of 1857 uprising. It was banned by the British authorities. ⁣
⁣As a response to the Muslim League, Savarkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha and popularized the term Hindutva (Hinduness), previously coined by Chandranath Basu,to create a collective “Hindu” identity as an essence of Bharat.⁣

Savarkar was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi. In 1905, he burnt all the foreign goods in a bonfire on Dussehra.⁣

In 1911, Savarkar was sentenced to 50 years in the cellular jail of Andamans, also known as Kala Pani on charges of plotting an armed revolt against the Morle-Minto reform. After several mercy petitions for not participating in politics, he was released in 1924. ⁣

The term ‘Veer’ or gallant was bestowed upon Savarkar somewhere in the 1920s. The person who first called him veer was, supposedly B.B. Bhopatkar of the Marathi paper Bhala.⁣

He was also a critic of Mahatama Gandhi and called him a ‘hypocrite’. In 1948, he was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, however, he was released by court for lack of evidence against him.⁣

The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar’s capital was renamed Veer Savarkar International Airport in 2002.