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SAVARKAR, Vinayak Damodar.

The Indian War of Independence of 1857.

By an Indian Nationalist.

[London: 1909] Stock Code: 145918
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"Immediately banned" - Mutiny or Rebellion?

Scarce first edition of this important and incendiary history, "the first outburst of Indian Nationalism in regards to Mutiny literature" (Sorksy); "one of the most influential books ever written about the Mutiny First published in English in translation from the original Marathi manuscript, it was immediately banned" (Ladendorf). Nevertheless, editions quickly appeared in Holland (1910) and the US (1912).

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966) was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha ("Great Society of Hindus"), a nationalist organization and political party. "While a student of law in London (190610), Savarkar helped to instruct a group of Indian revolutionaries in methods of sabotage and assassination that associates of his had apparently learned from expatriate Russian revolutionaries in Paris. During this period he wrote The Indian War of Independence, 1857 (1909), in which he took the view that the Indian Mutiny of 1857 was the first expression of Indian mass rebellion against British colonial rule. In March 1910 Savarkar was arrested on various charges relating to subversion and incitement to war and was sent to India for trial and convicted. In a second trial he was convicted of his alleged complicity in the assassination of a British district magistrate in India, and, after sentencing, he was transported to the Andaman Islands for detention 'for life'. He was brought back to India in 1921 and released from detention in 1924 Savarkar resided in Ratnagiri until 1937, when he joined the Hindu Mahasabha, which militantly defended the Hindus' claims of religious and cultural supremacy over Indian Muslims. He served as president of the Mahasabha for seven years. In 1943 he retired to Bombay. When Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 by a former member of the Mahasabha, Savarkar was implicated, but he was acquitted in his subsequent trial because of insufficient evidence" (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

John Pincince, a Senior Lecturer in History and the Director of the Asian Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago, remarks that Savarkar's book was "essential reading for Indian nationalists, up until (and even after) formal independence from British rule in 1947. Savarkar's book was embraced and distributed by Indian national heroes such as Madame Cama, Har Dayal, Taraknath Das, Bhagat Singh, and Subhas Chandra Bose. The book was equally significant as a historical corrective to biased accounts, mostly British, which represented the war as merely a sepoy (sipahi) mutiny".

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Octavo. Original dark red morocco-grain cloth, gilt-lettered spine and front cover, green patterned endpapers.


Folding coloured map of India, 2 half-tone plates ("Victims of British Brutality" and portrait of Rana Kumar Singh).


Binding just a little rubbed, inner hinges cracked but sound, touch of foxing and short closed tear to map. A very good copy.


Ladendorf 89 (citing the 1947 edition); Sorksy 129 and 931; see John Pincince, "V. D. Savarkar and the Indian War of Independence: Contrasting Perspectives of an Emergent Composite State" (paper for "Mutiny at the Margins": New Perspectives on the India U


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