Vināyak Dāmodar Sāvarkar (28 May 1883 – 26 February 1966) was an Indian pro-independence activist politician as well as a poet, writer and playwright. He advocated dismantling the system of caste in Hindu culture, and reconversion of the converted Hindus back to Hindu religion. Savarkar created the term Hindutva, and emphasised its distinctiveness from Hinduism which he associated with social and political communalism.
The stated aim of Savarkar’s Hindutva was to create a divisive collective identity. The five elements of his philosophy were Utilitarianism, Rationalism and Positivism, Humanism and Universalism, Pragmatism and Realism. Later commentators have said that Savarkar’s philosophy, despite its claims to furthering unity, was divisive in nature as it tried to shape Indian nationalism as uniquely Hindu, to the exclusion of other religions.
Savarkar’s revolutionary activities began while studying in India and England, where he was associated with the India House and founded student societies including Abhinav Bharat Society and the Free India Society, as well as publications espousing the cause of complete Indian independence by revolutionary means. Savarkar published The Indian War of Independence about the Indian rebellion of 1857 that was banned by British authorities. He was arrested in 1910 for his connections with the revolutionary group India House. Following a failed attempt to escape while being transported from Marseilles, Savarkar was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totalling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
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