He recalled that in May 1857, Indians had displayed their strength against the British.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed the contribution of Veer Savarkar for disapproving suggestions that events in 1857 were merely a “sepoy mutiny”. “It is indeed sad that we kept on calling the events of 1857 only as a rebellion or a soldiers’ mutiny for a very long time. In fact, May 1857 was not only evaluated as a minor historical incident but was also an attempt to dent our self-respect,” PM Modi said in his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ address on radio.
He recalled that in May 1857, Indians had displayed their strength against the British. “It is indeed sad that we kept on calling the events of 1857 only as a rebellion or a soldiers’ mutiny for a very long time. In fact, May 1857 was not only evaluated as a minor historical incident but was also an attempt to dent our self-respect. “It was Veer Savarkar who boldly expostulated by writing that whatever happened in 1857 was not a revolt but was indeed the first war of independence,” he said. Mr Modi recalled that Savarkar, along with his band of brave hearts, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first war of independence with great fanfare at the India House in London. He said while Savarkar is renowned for his bravery and his struggle against the British Raj, but he was also a striking poet and a social reformer who emphasised on unity.
Savarkar is credited with coining the term Hindutva to create a collective “Hindu” identity as an essence of India.
Mr Modi also highlighted the role of physical and mental fitness for all-round development said he was overwhelmed by the response to his fit India campaign. “For me, it’s heartwarming that the captain of the Indian cricket team Virat Kohli has included me in his challenge. I too have accepted his challenge. I believe this is gainful and this kind of a challenge will inspire us to be fit alongwith others, as well,” he said. He also expressed concern over “fading away” of traditional sport such as ‘kho khho’, ‘pitthu’, ‘lattu’ and ‘gulli-danda’ “to the point of extinction”. “It will be the loss of the spirit of childhood,” he said and recalled a poem which talked of end of childhood and the games and the fun associated with it.
“It is crucial that today schools, neighbourhoods and youth congregations come forward and promote these games. Through crowd sourcing we can create an archive of our traditional games,” Mr Modi suggested.