‘Swatantra Veer Savarkar’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Why Did Savarkar Kill Gandhi?


There are many thoughts that cross your mind when you watch a film like Swatantra Veer Savarkar, where the makers are adamant about proving a point, and they want the audience to believe that their perspective or narrative is the closest to reality. My problem with such films is that, blatantly, the context of something said or done is removed from the equation, and the entire meaning is changed. We all, as Indians, agree that Savarkar played a crucial role in the Indian Freedom Movement, but to prove that, the film portrays certain other revolutionaries in a bad light. So, let’s find out what Randeep Hooda’s directorial venture has to say and if it addresses the elephant in the room or not.

Spoiler Alert

How did Savarkar form Abhinav Bharat? 

In Swatantra Veer Savarkar, we saw that the Indian freedom fighter from a very early age jumped into the Indian freedom struggle movement. Savarkar was very clear from the beginning that the path of Ahimsa wouldn’t lead the country anywhere and that the people would have to answer the British government in a language they understood the best. Savarkar was a brilliant scholar and notable activist. Lokmanya Tilak sponsored his education, as they didn’t want his financial situation to interfere with his education. Savarkar wanted to go to England to study law, as he wanted to understand the nitty-gritty of the legal framework and then use it to his advantage. Savarkar went to Fergusson College, and he realized that because the Britishers exercised control over the college authorities, he could carry on his activism openly. So he started Abinav Bharat, an initiative, as he wanted to continue doing what he was doing by staying anonymous. We are shown in the film that Bhagat considered Savarkar his inspiration and that both revolutionaries had mutual respect for each other. Mahatma Gandhi, too, considered him to be a true patriot, but he didn’t think that his approach and way of doing things were something that he vouch for. Savarkar and his colleagues from Abhinav Bharat burned foreign clothes and showed their support for Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Swadeshi movement. Tilak saw a flare in Savarkar and told him that he would look after his education. Abhinav Bharat established links with other secret societies operating from different parts of the country, and both Vinayak Savarkar and his elder brother Ganesh made sure that they did everything to shake the foundation of the British empire. 

What happened to Savarkar in Kala Pani? 

Savarkar finally reached London, and he instantly became one of the most important members of the India House. Later, he established the Free India Society. One of the major operations conducted by society was the assassination of William Hutt Curzon Wyllie, for which Madan Lal Dhingra was given capital punishment while Savarkar was tried for sedition and then later sent to Kala Pani Prison, which was often referred to as hell on earth. In Kala Pani, David Barry, the jailer, tried to break Savarkar in ways that no human could even dare to imagine. Savarkar stayed there for almost a decade, but his spirit was unfettered, and he still stuck to his ideals. The controversy that surrounded the revolutionary was that there were people who didn’t like the fact that he wrote a mercy petition to the British government. In Savarkar’s defense, the film says that he did it primarily because he felt that he would be more useful outside, and he had no plans to abide by the terms and conditions of the British Empire. There are also people who pin the blame on Mahatma Gandhi and say that it was on his advice that Savarkar agreed to write to the crown. The fact remains that Savarkar did write to the British regime, and it was a big thing that he was still in his sane mind after he came out of prison. Once he came out, he found out that the British regime had made sure that the entire Savarkar family couldn’t earn their livelihood. All the doors to earning money were blocked for them, and the entire family had to go through a very tough time. All these advertisements strengthened Savarkar’s resolve, and with the help of people like Madam Bhikaji Cama and Shamji Krishna Verma, he kept working for the cause of Indian freedom. 

Why Did Savarkar Conspire To Kill Mahatma Gandhi? 

Savarkar’s younger brother, Narayan Damodar Savarkar, approached Mahatma Gandhi when the former was serving a sentence in Kala Pani and asked him to help their cause. Gandhi agreed to write an article about Savarkar, and the film shows that filing a mercy petition was also his idea. Now, I understand that this has been a topic of debate since time immemorial, and there are different perspectives among people on the matter. On one hand, there was a sect of people who believed that Savarkar’s mercy petition was an act of cowardice, and on the other, there are political leaders who, till date, advocated the fact that it was the father of the nation who asked him to do so. The matter is still unresolved as of now, and I believe it would stay that way, as in a battle of narrative, little or no importance is given to facts. Once Savarkar came out, Mahatma Gandhi came to meet him at his place, and that’s when he raised the topic of inter-caste marriage to avoid conflicts, and the film showed no shred of doubt to state how progressive he was for the time. However, historians have other viewpoints, and I would suggest that all viewers read the matter and then jump to conclusions.

Another point that Savarkar raised during the meeting was why the Mahatma favored Muslims, and to that, the latter replied that there was fear in the minorities, and his aim was to remove that feeling from them. Savarkar, time and again, reiterated in the film the fact that anybody living in undivided India was a Hindu, irrespective of which religion they followed. He said that by Hindutva, he didn’t mean people who followed Hinduism as a religion; it included all those who considered India to be their other land. The meeting ended with Savarkar and Gandhi being at loggerheads, where the former was shown as a fanatic anarchist who abhorred the ways and means of Mahatma Gandhi. Now, I don’t know if that is what he actually meant or if the makers found a convenient ploy to justify his ways and his ideologies. I leave that up to our prudent readers to decide for themselves. It is shown in the film that during the 1940 viceroy meeting, only Savarkar cared for the welfare of the Indians, while Jawaharlal Nehru, Jinnah, and even Mahatma Gandhi had their own agendas.

In Swatantra Veer Savarkar‘s ending, we saw that Nathuram Godse was not happy with Mahatma Gandhi’s prejudice towards the newly formed state of Pakistan, so he went and shot him point blank. The film clearly establishes that Savarkar had no role to play in the assassination, and in fact, he criticized Nathuram’s actions. Just before the 1952 elections, Savarkar was arrested by the police on the orders of the newly “selected” prime minister of India (as Savarkar stated it). Congress is made the villain here, and it is shown that they were behind sending Savarkar to the prison so that nobody could challenge their authority in the upcoming elections. The film states that had Congress taken the advice of Savarkar, things would have been better during the 1962 Indo-China War. The makers do not forget to state the irony that Savarkar, who was known for his violent ways and means, died due to starvation during a hunger strike, whereas the man who taught “Ahimsa” to the entire world was killed by a gunshot. I don’t know what they want to show through that, but one thing is clear: the makers don’t have any doubt about which narrative they want to believe in, and they have tried hard to make the audience accept that viewpoint, too.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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