Savarkar (Part 2): A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966 by Vikram Sampath

Savarkar (Part 2): A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966

Penguin releases the concluding volume from the Savarkar series by historian, Vikram Sampath

  •  Was Savarkar really a co-conspirator in the Gandhi murder?
  • Was there a pogrom against a particular community after Gandhi’s assassination?

Decades after his death, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar continues to uniquely influence India’s political scenario. An optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the 1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him into a proponent of ‘Hindutva’? A former president of the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar was a severe critic of the Congress’s appeasement politics. After Gandhi’s murder, Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination. While he was acquitted by the court, Savarkar is still alleged to have played a role in Gandhi’s assassination, a topic that is often discussed and debated.

In this concluding volume of the Savarkar series, exploring a vast range of original archival documents from across India and outside it, in English and several Indian languages, historian Vikram Sampath brings to light the life and works of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the most contentious political thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century.


In the concluding volume of his path-breaking biography, Vikram Sampath shows us the world-shaping events culminating in the independence and partition of India through Savarkar’s eyes. The perspective is both novel and sobering, and the picture he presents of Savarkar picking his way through the debris of history a vivid and compelling one.

— Faisal Devji, professor of Indian History, University of Oxford

The mere mention of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar raises blood pressures, even today. To be better informed about the man, his times and his legacy, there is only one biographer one can think of. That happens to be Vikram Sampath. The quality of writing and research in the first volume made every reader wait expectantly for the second. As careful and meticulous as in the first, Vikram doesn’t disappoint with this concluding volume.

— Bibek Debroy, eminent economist, scholar and translator

Vikram Sampath has now completed his monumental biography of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. . . . Given that Savarkar has been excommunicated from India’s history for his alleged involvement in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, I particularly commend his chapter on the Gandhi assassination. Of the many accounts I have read over the years, this is the most thorough. Whatever your political views, read this book as a fine piece of historical writing.

— Meghnad Desai, eminent author and columnist, Professor Emeritus at the London School of Economics

Vikram Sampath’s Savarkar is a major achievement. Rooted in wide-ranging research, but also very easy to read, it brings to life the world and the ideas of a revolutionary Hindu who did much to shape modern India.

— Francis Robinson, professor of the history of South Asia, Royal Holloway, University of London

From social issues to cultural, Savarkar’s imprints are omni-present. . . . I congratulate Vikram on having documented the various aspects of Savarkar’s life as a political activist, thinker and an orator while also touching on the lesser-known aspects of him being a poet, writer and playwright. I am sanguine that this work will go a long way in introducing Indians to the much-forgotten hero of India’s struggle for independence.

— Ram Madhav, former national general secretary of the BJP and a member of the national executive committee of the RSS

My endorsement of Sampath’s fine book is as a student of Indian political history and not as someone…who believes that Savarkar is a profoundly divisive figure and the very opposite of what Mahatma Gandhi lived for-and ultimately was killed for as well.

— Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament, former union minister and author
About the author

Vikram Sampath, Bangalore-based historian, is the author of four acclaimed books, Splendours of Royal Mysore: the Untold Story of The WodeyarsMy Name Is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician and Voice of the VeenaS. Balachander: A Biography and Savarkar: Echoes From A Forgotten Past, 1883-1924. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi’s first Yuva Puraskar in English literature and the ARSC International Award for Excellence in Historical Research in New York for his book on Gauhar Jaan. The book has also been adapted as a play, ‘Gauhar’, by Lillete Dubey and is being adapted to a Hindi movie by Ashutosh Gowariker.

Vikram has a doctorate in history and music from the University of Queensland, Australia, and is a former senior fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. An engineer/mathematician from BITS-Pilani and an MBA in finance from S.P. Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai, he is also a trained Carnatic vocalist. He has established the Archive of Indian Music, India’s first digital sound archive for vintage recordings, and is the founder-director of the Bangalore Literature Festival, Indic Thoughts Festival and the ZEE Group’s ARTH: A Culture Fest.

Vikram’s Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883-1924 (Penguin 2019) was a national bestseller.

Title: Savarkar (Part 2): A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966
Author: Vikram Sampath
Publisher: Penguin
Available: Amazon

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