Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to freedom fighter and social activist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly called Veer Savarkar, on the latter’s 135th birth anniversary on Monday.

In a tweet posted from his official Twitter handle, the PM wrote, “I bow to Veer Savarkar on his Jayanti. Blessed with immense courage, Veer Savarkar will always be remembered for his patriotic spirit. He was also a prolific writer and social reformer.”

 

This is the second time in as many days that the PM has paid homage to Savarkar. In his ‘Mann ki Baat’ address on Sunday, PM Modi called Savarkar – the ideological champion of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – “a social reformer” and heaped glowing praises on the man who coined the term ‘Hindutva’.

“It is sad that we used to call the events of 1857 ‘mutiny’ or ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ for a long time. In reality, not only was the event undermined but was also used to hurt our pride,” said Modi referring to the events which triggered a unified national consciousness for freedom from the British rule.

“It was Veer Savarkar who courageously wrote that the 1857 incident was not a ‘mutiny’ but the ‘first war of freedom’,” the PM said in praise of Savarkar.

Read More: Veer Savarkar always stressed on goodwill and unity, says PM Modi

“It is a coincidence that the month which witnessed the First Struggle for Independence was the month in which Veer Savarkar ji was born,” said the PM.

“Savarkar ji’s personality was full of special qualities; he was a worshipper of both weapons or shashtra (weapons) and shaashtras (knowledge),” said the PM.

Recalling former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s words, the 67-year-old PM said, “Atal ji had said: ‘Savarkar means brilliance, Savarkar means sacrifice, Savarkar means penance, Savarkar means substance, Savarkar means logic, Savarkar means youth, Savarkar means an arrow, and Savarkar means a Sword’.”

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, too, paid homage to Savarkar.

“The youth of the nation have drawn inspiration from freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. His contribution to the freedom of the country is unforgettable. I bow to him on his Jayanti,” tweeted Singh.

 

The BJP, too, posted a tribute from its official Twitter handle.

“Homage to the great revolutionary, firm politician, amazing poet and dedicated social reformer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar on his birth anniversary,” read the tweet.

 

Savarkar, who was born on 28 May 1883 in Bhagur, near Nasik, was the president of the Hindu Mahasabha and a bitter critic of the Indian National Congress. He participated in the Indian struggle for freedom and served time in Cellular Jail. A strong proponent of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ all his life, Savarkar died on 26 February 1966 aged 82.

While the BJP and its ideological parent RSS considers him as one of the tallest heroes of the Indian freedom struggle, Savarkar is seen as a polarising figure by a section of the society.