dna exclusive: Savarkar's Urdu poetry gets Amitabh Bachchan's touch

Monday, 13 January 2014 - 7:48am IST | Agency: dna

Freedom fighter wrote ghazals during 11-yr imprisonment in Andaman jail.

Bollywood’s most famous baritone will introduce the Urdu compositions of Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in a CD which will be released on January 21.

“Amitabh Bachchan is well known for his distinct voice. We thought his would make for a befitting voice for introducing the ghazals written by Swatantryaveer Savarkar while serving a life sentence in Andaman in 1921,” said Ranjit, Savarkar’s grand-nephew and chairman of Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak (SSRS).

Moved on meeting Ranjit who presented him a copy of Veer Savarkar’s memoirs of his struggle at Andaman and a replica manuscript of his verse penned in prison, Bachchan tweeted:
“Incomprehensive to fathom what freedom fighters went through to gain independence for nation …! Are they acknowledged enough?  Had visited Andaman island, Kala paani and the prisons where freedom fighters were kept. Atrocious stories of their torture!”

A manuscript of Urdu ghazals by Savarkar was found in in July last year. The ghazals were written by the freedom fighter during his 11-year torturous incarceration in the Andaman Cellular Jail. The wholly patriotic works were found in a notebook kept by Savarkar in prison. “Even the family was unaware of this brave freedom fighter’s proficiency in Urdu,” recalls the SSRS head, adding: “Except for certain Persian words, the ghazals have been written in such a way that they can be understood easily. To make it easy, the facing pages have works written in Devanagri.”

The notebook has a cover designed by sticking jail records together. “During the last few months in the Andamans, Savarkar was made foreman of the jail’s oil godown. For the first time he got ink and paper to write. His earlier works were written on prison walls with nails. These were memorised and then sent via prisoners who had to memorise them to bring them back to the mainland.”

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