Veer Savarkar strove for social harmony
Veer Savarkar strove for social harmony. Veer Savarkar is known for his great and awesome revolutionary deeds during nation’s freedom struggle against British. But no less notable had been his contribution to the social causes.
Veer Savarkar is known for his great and awesome revolutionary deeds during nation’s freedom struggle against British. But no less notable had been his contribution to the social causes. Among many great works that he did the most prominent one was regarding social harmony. So as to remove the caste-based untouchability in the religious affair, as also in social life, he initiated in great way the tradition of mass singing of devotional songs (bhajans), which had no place for caste-barrier of any kind.
Touring different places of Maharashtra, he campaigned against the caste-based segregation then practised in the schools. So that not because of lack of money the so-called low-caste children may be deprived of attending the schools, he collected funds from the prosperous class and provided slates and chalks to them, and monetary incentives to their parents.
Festivals like Diwali, Dasera, and Makar Sankranti were the occasions for him to visit the localities resided by the castes like Mahars (low-cast people mainly found in Maharashtra), Charmkars (cobblers) and Valmikis (sweepers). Not alone he did all this, notably. This work of his was comprised of the people hailing from the different upper castes.
Making the use of the local custom of Haldi-kumkum (religious celebration, belonging particularly to Maharashtra, of the women folk to mark their happy and long married life) for the cause of social harmony, he, along with his wife,Yamunabai or Mai, used to organise the function of ‘Get-together’ for the women folk of all castes, including those being called untouchables, to celebrate it together. Starting a pan-Hindu café, he employed a Mahar to look after it. Anybody coming to meet Savarkar was supposed to consume something from it from the hands of Mahar first.
Most strange thing regarding untouchability was that Mahar used to think they would get defiled on taking meal sitting with Valmikis; and that Valmikies refused to sit with Charmkars while doing so. With upper castes all were willing to sit to take meals, but when it came to sit with fellow untouchables, the same willingness soon took the form of mutual contempt. To deal with this Savarkar started sarvjati sahabhoj (mass-feast composed of all the castes) in a great way.
One such grand sahabhoj he once organised even in ‘Patitpavan Mandir’, which he got it built in Ratnagiri with the purpose of bringing harmony in the realm of religion. This was the temple where all could enter to perform the religious rites. “That race which has no strength to protect its existing temples has forfeited its right to build new ones. The objective of this temple is to build that strength.
Today, it is not just the Mahar, Chamar or the untouchable community that is degraded, the entire Hindu society, slave that it has become of foreign rule is degraded. I will call Him who raises this entire degraded Hindu nation as Patitpavan. I will call only Him who restores all that we Hindus have lost as Patitpavan”— was his view behind the concept of such temple.
By Er Rajesh Pathak