Importance of 10 MAY : Tribute to all Nationalists
  • Importance of 10th MAY : Tribute to all Nationalists
    *Oh Martyrs*

    *By Veer Savarkar*
    Thanks to Omprakash agarwal [email protected]

    The battle of freedom once begun
    And handed down from sire to son
    Though often lost is ever won!!

    To-day is the tenth of May! It was on this day, that in the ever
    memorable year of 1857, the first campaign of the War of Independence was
    opened by you, oh Martyrs, on the battle-field of India. The Motherland,
    awakened to the sense of her degrading slavery, unsheathed her sword, burst
    forth from the shackles and struck the first blow for her liberty and for
    her honour. It was on this day that the war-cry ‘Maro Feringhi Ko’ [Kill the
    foreigner, i.e., the British imperialist] was raised by the throats of
    thousands. It was on this day that the sepoys of Meerut, having risen in a
    terrible uprising, marched down to Delhi, saw the waters of the Jumna,
    glittering in the sunshine, caught one of those historical moments which
    close a past epoch to introduce a new one, and ‘had found, in a moment, a
    leader, a flag and a cause, and converted the mutiny into a national and
    religious war.’

    All honour be to you, oh Martyrs. For it was for the preservation of
    the honour of the race that you performed the fiery ordeal of a revolution
    when the religions of the land were threatened with a forcible and sinister
    conversion, when the hypocrite threw off his friendly garb and stood up into
    the naked heinousness of a perfidious foe breaking treaties, smashing
    crowns, forging chains and mocking all the while our merciful mother for the
    very honesty with which she believed the pretensions of the white liar, then
    you, oh Martyrs of 1857, awoke the mother, inspired the mother, and for the
    honour of the mother, rushed to the battle-field terrible and tremendous
    with the war-cry ‘Maro Feringhi Ko’ on your lips, and with the sacred mantra
    God and Hindusthan on your banner! Well did you do, in rising. For
    otherwise, although your blood might have been spared, yet the stigma of
    servility would have been the deeper, one more link would have been added to
    the cursed chain of demoralising patience, and the world would have again
    contemptuously pointed to our nation saying, ‘She deserves slavery, she is
    happy in slavery. For even in 1857, she did not raise even a finger to
    protect her interest and her honour!’

    This day, therefore, we dedicate, oh Martyrs, to your inspiring memory!
    It was on this day, that you raised a new flag to be upheld, you uttered a
    mission to be fulfilled, you saw a vision to be realised, you proclaimed a
    nation to be born!

    We take up your cry, we revere your flag, we are determined to continue
    that fiery mission of ‘away with the foreigner’, which you uttered, amidst
    the prophetic thundering of the Revolutionary War. Revolutionary, yes, it
    was a Revolutionary War. For the War of 1857 shall not cease till the
    revolution arrives, striking slavery into the dust, elevating liberty to the
    throne. Whenever a people arises for its freedom, whenever that seed of
    liberty gets germinated in the blood of its fathers, whenever that seed of
    liberty gets germinated in the blood of its Martyrs, and whenever there
    remains at least one true son to avenge that blood of his fathers, there
    never can be an end to such a war as this. No, a revolutionary war knows no
    truce, save liberty or death. We, inspired by your memory, determine to
    continue the struggle you began in 1857, we refuse to acknowledge the
    armistice as a truce; we look upon the battles you fought as the battles of
    the first campaign – the defeat of which cannot be the defeat of the War.
    What? Shall the world say that India has accepted the defeat as the final
    one? That the blood of 1857 was shed in vain? That the sons of India betray
    their fathers’ vows? No, by Hindusthan, no! The historical continuity of the
    Indian nation is not cut off. The war begun on the 10th of May 1857 is not
    over on the 10th of May 1908, nor shall it ever cease till a 10th of May to
    come sees the destiny accomplished, sees the beautiful India crowned, either
    with the lustre of victory or with the halo of martyrdom.

    But, oh glorious Martyrs, in this pious struggle of your sons, help. O
    help us by your inspiring presence! Torn in innumerable petty selves, we
    cannot realise the grand unity of the Mother. Whisper, then, unto us by what
    magic you caught the secret of Union. How the Feringhi rule was shattered to
    pieces and the Swadeshi thrones were set up by the common consent of Hindus
    and Mahomedans. How in the higher love of the mother, united the difference
    of castes and creeds, how the venerated and venerable Bahadur Shah
    prohibited the killing of cows throughout India, how Shreemant
    Nanasahibafter the first salute of the thundering cannon to the
    emperor of Delhi,
    reserved for himself the second one! How you staggered the whole world, by
    uniting under the banner of mother and forced your enemies to say ‘Among the
    many lessons the Indian Mutiny conveys to the historian and administrator,
    none is of greater importance than the warning that it is possible to have a
    revolution in which Brahmins and Shudras, Mahomedans and Hindus were united
    against us and that it is not safe to suppose that the peace and stability
    of our dominion in any great measure depends on the continent being
    inhabited by different races with different religious systems, for they
    mutually understand each other and respect and take part in each other’s
    modes and ways and doings. The Mutiny reminds us that our dominions rest on
    a thin crust ever likely to be rent by titanic fires of social changes and
    revolutions’. Whisper unto us the nobility of such an alliance of Religion
    and Patriotism, the true religion which ever is on the side of patriotism,
    the true patriotism which secures the freedom of religion.

    And give us the marvellous energy, daring and secrecy with which you
    organised the mighty volcano; show us the volcanic magma that underlies the
    green thin crust on which the foe is to be kept lulled into a false
    security; tell us how the chapatti*, that fiery Cross of India flew from
    village to village and from valley to valley, setting the whole intellect of
    the nation on fire by the very vagueness of its message and then let us hear
    the roaring thunder with which the volcano at last burst forth with an
    all-shattering force, rushing, smashing, burning and consuming into one
    continuous fiery flow of red-hot lava-flood! Within a month, regiment after
    regiment, prince after prince, city after city, sepoys, police, zamindars,
    Pundits, Moulvis, the multiple-headed Revolution sounded its tocsin and
    temples and mosques resounded with the cry ‘Maro Feringhi Ko!’ Away with the
    foreigners! Meerut rose, Delhi rose, rose Benares, Agra, Patna, Lucknow,
    Allahabad, Jadagalpoor, Jhansi, Banda, Indore – from Peshwar to Calcutta and
    from the Narmada to the Himalayas the volcano burst forth into a sudden,
    simultaneous and all-consuming conflagration!!

    And then, oh Martyrs, tell us the little as well as the great defects
    which you found out in our people in that great experiment of yours. But
    above all, point out that most ruinous, nay, the only material drawback in
    the body of the nation which rendered all your efforts futile – the mean
    selfish blindness which refuses to see its way to join the nation’s cause.
    Say that the only cause of the defeat of Hindusthan was Hindusthan herself,
    that shaking away the slumber of centuries, the mother rose to hit the foe,
    but while her right hand was striking the Feringhi dead, her left hand
    struck, alas, not the enemy, but her own forehead! So she staggered and fell
    back into the inevitable swoon of 50 years.

    Fifty years are passed, but, oh restless spirits of 1857, we promise
    you with our hearts’ blood that your Diamond Jubilee shall not pass without
    seeing your wishes fulfilled!! We have heard your voice and we gather
    courage from it. With limited means you sustained a war, not against tyranny
    alone, but against tyranny and treachery together. The Duab and
    Ayodhyamaking a united stand, waged a war, not only against the whole
    of the
    British power but against the rest of India too; and yet you fought for
    three years and yet you had well-night snatched away the crown of
    Hindusthanand smashed the hollow existence of the alien rule. What an
    this! What the Duab and Ayodhya could do in a month, the simultaneous,
    sudden and determined rising of the whole of Hindusthan can do in a day.
    This hope illumines our hearts and assures us of success. And so we vow that
    your Diamond Jubilee year 1917 shall not pass without seeing the resurging
    India making a triumphant entry into the world.

    For, the bones of Bahadur Shah are crying vengeance from their grave!
    For, the blood of dauntless Laxmi is boiling with indignation! For, the
    shahid Peer Ali of Patna, when he was going to the gallows for having
    refused to divulge the secrets of the conspiracy whispered defiance to the
    Feringhi said in prophetic words ‘You may hang me today, you may hang such
    as me everyday, but thousands will still rise in my place – your object will
    never be gained.’

    Indians, these words must be fulfilled! Your blood, oh Martyrs, shall
    be avenged.


    London, 1908


    * Red chapattis were reportedly relayed from village to village as a signal
    for the Revolution.

    [The half centenary celebrations of the 1857 Revolutionary War of
    Independence which took place on the 10th of May 1908 in London were later
    described by Veer Savarkar:

    “India House was beautifully decorated with flowers and lights. On the red
    screen, with borders and banners of flower garlands, panels of names in gold
    and other colours were hung in frames. Bahadur Shah, Nanasaheb, Rani
    Laxmibhai, Raja Kunwar Singh, Maulvi Ahmed Shah all these and other heroes
    and martyrs were brilliantly engraved on the screen which also was adorned
    with a number of pictures of Indian patriots. In that audience hall of the
    India House, flowers and burning incense created a holy home-atmosphere, the
    smell and sight of which reminded one of Mother Bharat.

    “The Function commenced with the inspiring national song sung by Deshbhakta
    Varma in accompaniment of melodious music. Slogans and cries of ‘*Vande**
    Mataram*’ shot through the walls of the hall and boomed into the roads
    beyond. At 4.30, the president of the function, the renowned patriot
    Ranasaheb, then staying in Paris, arrived with a group of selected leaders.
    He was specially invited to grace the occasion. A number of Indian friends
    from Paris accompanied him. He had brought a very inspiring message from the
    beloved Madam Cama.

    “After the national song, Mr. Ayer recited the national prayer. The premises
    of India House, even beyond the hall, were so packed with men that a large
    number had to stand in thick crowds in the street. Indians from distant
    places, as Cambridge, Oxford, Reading had arrived for the function. The song
    and prayer thrilled the hearts of the audience with an indescribable
    feeling. Savarkar came on the stage and addressed the gathering in a
    spirited and inspiring speech. He talked of the great sacrifice and
    sufferings of Bahadur Shah and Nanasaheb for the cause of Bharat and
    explained the real significance of that War of Independence. At the
    conclusion of his speech, the whole assembly rose to cheer and greet the
    revolution in three cheers and *jai jaikars* amidst repeated slogans of ‘*
    Vande** Mataram*’. Then Mr. Khan spoke on Raja Kunwar Singh; Mr. Das on Raniof
    Jhansi; Mr. Master and other different speakers from various communities and
    provinces of India addressed the meeting which concluded with a very
    inspiring oration of the President. After the speeches, people came forward
    to take the pledge of sacrifice and suffering for Indian freedom”.

    After these swearings and pledges, Mrs. Datt sang the national song and the
    ceremony was concluded with the distribution of *prasad*, Indian Chapatti,
    of hallowed memory as a memento of 1857.]


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