Yaumanabai Savarkar and her tale of heroism and sacrifice
The freedom struggle of the Savarkar brothers is often spoken about but the sacrifices & struggles of their wives — Yashodabai, Yamunabai & Shantabai Savarkar respectively, on personal, social & freedom fronts, are not known much. These three ladies, in spite of having to suffer the anguish of separation from their husbands, starvation & hunger, social boycott, the fury of the British, carried on their husbands’ struggle for freedom in every possible way.
Today, 26th Feb, on the death anniversary of Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, let us remember his better half, Yamunabai Savarkar, whose sacrifices are an inspiration for generations to come. Yamunabai was popularly known as Mai. Mai, a woman who till date remains unsung and a forgotten chapter for today’s generation.
Mai’s role in the freedom struggle has gone unnoticed. Mai stood strongly with tenacity and indomitable courage behind the Savarkar brothers in their freedom struggle. One such incident in her life shows the dedication she had towards her husband, and his dream to see a ‘Swatantra Bharat’
Amongst many calamities that the Savarkars’ faced for being a patriot, the worst was when Veer Savarkar was sentenced to 2 life imprisonment in the Andaman Cellular Jail by the British. Babarao Savarkar, elder brother of Veer Savarkar was already undergoing incarceration at Andaman Cellular Jail.
50 years of Kala Pani in Andaman, the cellular jail which was infamous for inhumane treatment given to prisoners, where prisoners committed suicide due to psychological pressure, torture, the prisoners had closed roads ahead and no returning back. Andaman cellular jail was rightly called the ‘death trap‘.
We can only imagine what the 22-year-old Mai must be going through. She could not seek anyone’s help, nor there was the slightest hope of her husband being freed.
Veer Savarkar was allowed to meet Mai before he was being shifted to Andaman. Mai a courageous lady, could not hold her tears back, seeing her husband in heavy manacles, walking with difficulty. What can one expect from the brutal and savage British laws, except showing their inhumane behaviour towards the patriots and freedom fighters?
Mai was withering with agony, she cried for once in deep pain. But the courageous lady that she was, she quickly composed herself.
Savarkar said to her, “If giving birth to children & collecting twigs to build a home is called married life, then such a life is also led by crows and sparrows. We are giving a nobler meaning to married life, we are blessed to have led a life fit for human beings. We won’t even remember the difficulties we went through when our Bharat Mata will be free. If ever God wishes, we shall meet again, if not in this birth, then the next birth”
Gathering all her composure, Mai bowed down at his feet to do a Namaskar and said, ”Let me have a glance at your feet so that in the next birth, I can easily recognize those feet.”
Mai was just around 22 years and Veer Savarkar was 27 years. We can only imagine the love they had for Bharat. Mai stood firmly behind Veer Savarkar in his struggle and Sacrifice. She knew that her husband had taken up the oath to serve the country and she stood by it. We salute to this unsung lady who silently played her part in the freedom struggle.
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