A FORGOTTEN OR RATHER SYSTEMETICALLY MADE FORGOTTEN NRI HERO OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE
: Mr Hemantkumar Gajanan Padhya
It was very shocking and humiliating experience for me as an India born and brought up in India when I came across the name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma and his work while searching for Indian Freedom fighters at the British Library record just for a curiosity. Even though, I was born, brought up and educated in India, it is a strange that I never heard the name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma or about his contribution to Indian Independence, who started freedom movement right in heart of the capital of British Empire, London, at least 20 years before Gandhiji entered into the arena of Indian freedom movement. I did learn about many freedom fighters belonging to Indian National Congress in my educational curriculum and celebrated their birth and death anniversaries every year at my school and college days in India but I never heard or came across the name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma or studied about this great Indian freedom fighter revolutionary in history and the history of Indian Independence, even though he was the pioneer and first and foremost Gujarati and Indian freedom fighter in early 19th century and he predated the Indian Independence movement of Gandhiji at least over two decades.
It is a misfortune of Free India that the history written and taught under ruling Congress Party (INC) after independence of India awarded whole credit of Indian independence to their very selected couple of leaders of Indian National Congress (INC) only and even though other prominent Indian freedom fighter like Shri Aurobindo Ghosh, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, Hardayal. Bagha Jatin and many more who sacrificed their life for the cause were completely ignored devalued and systematically made forgotten as they were right wing hardliners and revolutionaries who disagreed with Gandhi and Nehru’s political thoughts and their dirty and selfish politics played by them within Congress as well as they criticised Congress and its leader Gandhi and Nehru and they went against their slavish ideology and dictatorial behaviours of these duo leaders who had become the congress themselves. I am not surprised why Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma was fully dropped out by ruling Congress Party from history of Indian Independence.
The freedom of India is not just achieved by the efforts of Indian National Congress, or exclusive efforts of Gandhiji and Nehru. It was a joint and collective effort of many individuals and organisations of Indian patriots all over the world who strongly believed in securing Indian Independence either by non-violent or violent measures or by peaceful demonstration or armed revolution. Indian Independence was achieved by collective efforts of Indian Armed Revolutionaries and non-violent movement and the role of Indian Armed Revolutionaries must not be underestimated, undervalued or accounted less important than the non-violent freedom fighters.
If the true and precise history of Indian Freedom Struggle was written and taught to the people of India after independence, the name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma would not have been unfamiliar to the general public of India. It is also an irony of history that very few NONRESIDENT INDIANS living in United Kingdom have much knowledge of such a great political and academic personality who made a history in Britain. The name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma should be on the front page of the chapters of Indian Freedom Struggle in 19th century as he initiated the movement in London in 1905, Fifteen years before Gandhiji entered into the politics of Indian independence. Although Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru are being praised and credited for being pioneer of Indian Freedom Movement for political reason, Pandit Shyamaji was the real and the first Gujarati from Kutch, who advocated the principle of non-cooperation & dis-association movement in his newspaper 13 years before Gandhiji. Gandhiji put Pandit Shyamajis philosophy and idea into a practice by calling the same movement as Asahakar Andolan. Pandit Shymaji was the first person to preach non-violence movement option for the Indian Independence before Gandhiji but later he never ruled out the use of arms and violence if required to free his Motherland from British tyranny and occupation. In reality, Gandhiji was a predecessor of Pandit Shyamaji. If Gandhiji is honoured with the title of Rashtrapita for hiswork, there is no doubt that Pandit Shyamji Krishnavarma deserves the title of Rashtrapitamaha as no other political leader of Indian freedom Movement in 19th century had worked tirelessly and sacrificed as much as him. He was the generator of nationalism, patriotism and pride in enslaved Indian youth under oppressive British rule. Pandit Shyamaji was initiator of Indian freedom movement in London who propagated and brilliantly agitated for the freedom of his motherland in Europe and all over the world. He was a pioneer in gathering support from British, Irish and European politicians and intellectuals. He was brilliant scholar of Sanskrit, excellent agitator, politician, diplomat and organizing genius .
Pandit Shyamji Krishnavarma was the first and foremost NRI Freedom Fighter in the history of Indian Freedom Movement. He was a great patriot, philanthropist and political propagandist of Bharat -India. He will be remembered in the history of the freedom movement of Bharat as a great revolutionary journalist, writer and a maker of freedom fighters and the most inspiring genius of freedom movement for Indian youths. Fired with a deep patriotic urge and nationalist emotion, Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma launched the freedom movement in England in 1900, nearly two decades before Gandhiji entered into freedom movement of Bharat. It is rightly quoted by Mr C R Cleveland, The D. C. I. to Home secretary of British India that, ’Krishnavarma has a good claim to be regarded as founder of the Indian Revolutionary Movement abroad.’’
Pandit Shyamaji was not only a great freedom fighter and inspirer but also a great and profound Sanskrit & English scholar. Professor (Sir) Monier Williams held very high respect for Shyamaji. In his testimonial he said, “Assuredly no English or European teacher could possibly be his equal in expounding the grammar of Indian languages according to the principles of native grammarians. I may add that I know no other Pandit who combines a considerable knowledge of Greek and Latin with great Sanskrit attainments.” A famous Indologist and Sanskrit scholar professor Max Muller also spoke very highly of Shyamaji. Pandit Shyamaji sacrificed his whole life and earnings for the freedom of his motherland from the foreign rule of British Imperialism. He fought for Indian Freedom on his own ability and expense and never relied on any financial help from anybody like other famous leaders. He provided financial and moral help to other nationalist organizations, individuals and newspapers. He was a brave and committed comrade who made his headquarter right in the heart of British Empire, their capital, London, to fight against Barbaric British Rule in India. He was one of the foremost leaders of New Nationalist Movement during the most critical years of awakening of Indian mass. He carried out rigorous propaganda in Europe for the cause of Freedom Movement of Bharat. Pandit Shyamaji was the first and foremost Indian political leader to demand complete independence from British despotism and to use the Sanskrit term Swarajya (SELF RULE), which was later adopted as Swaraj by Dadabhai Naoroji and his colleagues in Indian National Congress. The ideology of freeing India from the clutches of British despotism professed by Pandit Shyamaji two decades ago was later espoused by Gandhi as his own and it became the fundamental concept of his own programme of achieving freedom for India.
Pandit SVK was regarded as the legitimate representative and leader of the Nationalist and radical wing of Indian Freedom Movement. He had become a hero for thousands of Indian students and Indian people living in India and abroad. He was a role model for freedom fighters, anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists from all over the world. It is a shaming chapter of Indian freedom history that Pandit Shyamaji was rarely mentioned in in conventional narrative or in national history. The historians of post –independence era under the influence of Indian National Congress deliberately ignored and suppressed this diasporic revolutionary freedom fighter and made cunning attempt to hide Pandit Shyamoli’s name, fame, work, contribution and sacrifice he rendered to free his motherland. Pandit Shyamaji was an excellent political agitator of India who sacrificed no less than Gandhiji or any other heroes if not more. Pandit Shyamaji krishnavarma was the organizing genius of early 19th century.
After the Independence of India, the Indian historians under influenced of congress rule and communist ideology to some extent continued to write the history of Indian Freedom Struggle in a very selective and discriminative manner and they gave full credits and honours to only two main leaders or heroes of Indian National Congress and deliberately disregarded, ignored and disowned other nationalist heroes of other organizations who played major and decisive role to drive the British out of India. This brain washing process targeted for new generation of Independent India has been on over half a century during the reign of Congress. If the correct history of Indian Independence was written and taught the name of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma and many nationalist leaders would have been a house hold names like Gandhiji and Nehru. No one can influence, supress and hide the true history for long. The sun revealing the true, authentic and right history of Indian Independence has now risen after over long waited six decade to give rightful place, right credit and rightful honour to those praiseworthy and real myrters and patriot freedom fighters in the history of the Indian Freedom Struggle.
Family Background, Birth and Education:
Shyamji was born in a historic year of 1857 when the first war of Indian Independence was fought against British Imperialism, where thousands of freedom fighters sacrificed their life to liberate their Motherland from foreign rule. Shyamaji was borne 30th October 1857 in Mandavi of Kutch province, according to the official register in Geneva. His Father, Karasan Bhanushali, known by nickname “Bhulo Bhanushali” was economically poor. He worked as a labourer for cotton Press Company exporting cotton abroad. His mother, Sundarbai was very brave and pious lady. Unfortunately, she died when Shyamaji was just eleven years old and her mother took over the responsibility to raise him. Shyamji was very intelligent from his childhood. He completed his primary and secondary education in Mandavi and Bhuj in Kutchh Province. He came to Mumbai for further education and joined Wilson High School. He had a great love for Sanskrit language since his childhood. He acquired his preliminary lessons in Sanskrit language from Shri B B Pandya in Mandavi. He acquired further knowledge of Sanskrit language in great depth from Shashtri Vishvanath of Mumbai & mastered the language. Shyamaji got married to Bhanumati, a daughter of a wealthy businessman Seth Shri Chahbildas Lallubhai of Bhatia community and a sister of his school friend Ramdas, in 1875. He came in touch with Swami Dayanand Saraswati, an exponent of Vedas, radical reformer, and staunch nationalist and founder of Arya Samaj. He became his disciple. Pandit Shyamaji was leading personality and founder member of the first Arya samaj Centre in Kakadvadi, Mumbai, opened on 10th April 1975. Swamiji was very impressed with Shyamji’s knowledge of Sanskrit and religious literatures. He guided and inspired Shyamji to conduct lectures on Vedic Philosophy and Religion. In 1877, Shyamji toured all over Bharat propagating the philosophy of Vedas. This tour secured him a great public recognition all over Bharat and many prominent scholars admired him for his knowledge and speeches. He was the first non-Brahmin, who was conferred the prestigious title of Pandit by the Pandits of Kashi in 1877. He travelled to his native Kutch and delivered lecture in Bhuj on 24th March 1878 and in Mandvi on 18th April 1878. The great son of the soil Pandit Shyamaji was welcomed and praised in Bhuja and Mandvi for his proficiency in Sanskrit language and mastery over Dharmashatra. Pandit Shyamaji was entrusted and appointed by Swami Dayanand Saraswati to take responsible charge of the publication of ‘’Ved Bhashya. Pandit Shyamaji translated Swamiji’s Sanskrit books titled ‘shikshapatrIdhvant Nivaaran’, ‘vedaviruddhaatmak khaNdan’, ‘Panchamahayagya Vidhi’ and ‘Vedantidhvant NivaaraN’ into Gujarati Language and published them too. Pandit Shyamaji acted as an interpreter between Madam Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Olcott of Theosophical Society of America and Swami Dayanand Saraswati as Swamiji could not real or write English Language Pandit Shyamaji corresponded with them on behalf of Swami Dayanandji. He personally went to receive Madam Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Olcott, great personalities of Theosophy Society of America, at Mumbai Dock on 16th February 1879. They were also very much impressed with Pandit Shyamaji’s talent and knowledge of Sanskrit language, literature and scriptures.
Professor Monier Williams, learned Professor of Sanskrit at oxford, attended the lecture of Pandit Shyamaji in Mumbai in 1876. He was so impressed with Shyamaji’s deep knowledge, mastery and his oratory excellence over Sanskrit Language and literatures. He saw a great potential in this young man and offered Shyamaji a job as his assistant at University of Oxford in first instance. Although nearly three years passed since Professor Monier Williams offered Shyamaji a job, Shyamaji had now made up his mind and decided to go and join Professor Monier Williams at Oxford in England. It was a credit and honour to Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma that the news of his arrival at Oxford was published in America’s leading newspaper ‘’New York Times’’ dated 23rd June 1979. The news said.’’ A young Indian Pandit, named Shyamaji Krishna-varma (misspelt), who, considering his age, (scarcely 23.) is remarkably well versed in grammatical and Vedic literature, has recently arrived in England and has been admitted a member of the University of Oxford. He is the first real Indian Pandit who has ever visited England. He is a native of Kutch, a country on the western coast of India, inhabited by rather more than half a million of hardy people who have no literature, and whose local dialect is on its way to extinction.’’
PANDIT SHYAMAJI, ACHIEVEMENTS AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY
Shyamji arrived in England in 1879 on formal invitation of professor Monier-Williams of Oxford University. He joined Professor William s as his assistant. Shyamji also joined Balliol College on 25th April 1979 for further study with the recommendation of professor Williams. He was invited to read papers on “the origin of writing in India” by the secretary of Royal Asiatic Society. Pandit Shyamji’s speech was very well received there and he was elected as a non-resident member of the society. In 1881, he was sent by the secretary of state for India to represent the learning of his country at Berlin Congress of Orientalists. There he not only read his own paper on the subject of “ Sanskrit as a living language of India”, but also he read the patriotic Sanskrit Poem sent by Ram Das Sen, a learned ZAMINDAR of Behrampur, and translated it into English for audience. This patriotic poem might have created the spark of patriotism in Shyamji. In 1982, Shyamji was elected as honorary member of “Empire Club”, the exclusive club of British elites and aristocrats and former Governors, Governor Generals and Army generals of British Government. He might be the first Indian who was admitted to such private club which was exclusively meant for Upper Class White British people. Pandit Shyamaji passed his B A in 1883. Pandit Shyamaji also played a major role in the establishment of ‘Indian Institute’, the dream project of his patron Professor Monier Monier-Williams. Pandit Shyamaji looked after management of the project under the guidance of Mr Monier-Williams and prepared the script of writings on the foundation plaque in Sanskrit and English. This plaque still exist in the building of ‘Indian Institute ’building at University of Oxford. The ceremony laying foundation was performed by Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and future king of Britain, on Wednesday, 2nd May 1883 ( Vaishakh, krishnapaksha, Dashami Samvat 1939). Pandit Shyamaji was specially and personally introduced to Prince Albert Edward by Professor Monier Monier-Williams. Shyamaji would probably be the first ordinary Indian who had shaken hand with the future king of Britain. Here in England, He enacted from success to success. He came across many thinkers, philosophers and scholars and they all admired this genius young man from India. Indologist Max Muller and vice chancellor of Oxford University, Dr B Jowett thought very highly of Shyamji. Pandit Shyamaji returned to India in the end of 1883 to pay respects and homage to his Guru Swami Dyanand Saraswati. After spending three month vacation in India, He came back to Oxford with his wife Bhanumati to finish his further studies.
RETURNED TO INDIA TO SERVE HIS MOTHERLAND
In 1885, he returned to India and enrolled himself as advocate of Mumbai High Court on19th January 1985 and started his practice. Then he was appointed as Diwan (chief minister) of Ratlam State by the king of the state. He resigned his high post in May 1988 due to ill health. The king granted him a lump sum of RS 32052 as signal mark of his high regards for his service. Then he stayed in Mumbai for a while. He settled in Ajmer, headquarters of his Guru Swami Dayanand Saraswati, and started his practice at British Court, Ajmer. Here he earned the bigger income than Ratlam. When Swami Vivekand visited Ajmer in 1891 as wondering monk, he came in contact with Har Bilas Sharda, a friend of Pandit Shyamaji. Swamij Vivekanand stayed at Pandit Shyamaji’s residence as guest in Ajmer for more than two weeks. . Pandit Shyamaji was the first Gujarati person Swami Vivekanand ever met. Swami Vivekanand had an opportunity to spend most of the time in discussing on the subjects of Sanskrit literature, scriptures, Vedicdharma, philosophy and politics and had some discourses with learned Sanskrit scholar Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma. Young Vivekanand might definitely had quite few hints, tips and advice on different subject including the life in western countries from Oxford returned scholar Pandit Shyamaji.
He made industrial investment in three cotton presses and secured a permanent income, which made him independent of any services for remainder of his life. Pandit Shyamaji He also served for Maharaja of Udaipur as member of his council from 1893 to 1895. He took position of Diwan of Junagadh State in 1895 and resigned in 1897 due to bitter experience of British agent’s interference. This incidence shook his faith in British Rule and justice. During his stay in India, Shyamji was very much impressed with a nationalist leader, Lokmanya Tilak. He whole-heartedly supported Tilak when he said hands off to British Government during the consent of AGE BILL CONTRAVERSY. Shyamji initiated very friendly relation with Tilak, which inspired Shyamji to the Nationalist Movement in next decade. The timid and futile cooperative policy of Congress Party did not appeal Shyamaji. He believed that the petitioning, praying, protesting, cooperating and collaborating policy of Congress Party was undignified, shameful for Indian Nationalism and self-respects of proud and patriotic Indians. Shyamaji saw that undignified method of “political mendicancy” adopted by Congress Party had crossed the limit of patience of educated youth and made them furious. In
1897, the atrocities inflicted during the plague crisis in Poona on Indians by British Government, stunned and shocked Shyamji. He then felt full justification for the nationalist stand taken by Chafekar brothers and Tilak. On 20th June 1897, Chafekar brothers assassinated the tyrant Commissioner of Pune during Plague outbreak, Mr Rand and his Lieutenant Ayerst. Shyamaji was well acquainted with Damodar, one of the Chafekar Brothers, whom he employed as his bodyguard on recommendation of Bal Gangadhar Tilak to train him in armaments in disguise, while Shyamaji was Diwan of Udaipur. He has foreseen his future to ending up in jail like Tilak and others if he would carry out his future plan of this movement in India as the political climate of India became highly suppressive and repressive after the assassination of Mr Rand and Ayerst. Shyamaji rejected his lucrative career to immigrate to England in March 1897 just after the arrest of Damodar, with a view to carry out the fight from abroad. He deliberately intended to launch uncompromising propaganda against autocratic, exploitative and oppressive regime of British Rule and to create support in England and Europe for THE INDEPENDENCE OF INDIA. Shyamji left his Motherland with the great determination to work restlessly for the liberation of India from foreign rule. He had only one business in mind to establish a business of training and inspiring the young sons and daughters of India to strive for the liberty of their Motherland. He decided to dedicate all his money, time, scholarship, literary power and above all his life to serve his Motherland selflessly.
RETURNED TO ENGLAND TO FIGHT FOR THE FREEDOM OF HIS MOTHERLAND
After his arrival in London, Shyamaji lived at obscure addresses in England for a while and later he stayed in residential chamber of Inner Temple at 13, Kings Bench Walk, Temple Inn. He utilised his leisure time to study Herbert Spencer’s literatures and the thoughts of other prominent writers advocating freedom. He stayed here until 1900 and acquired deep knowledge in the philosophy of Freedom utilising the library of Inner Temple as being a member of this professional organisation. In 1900, he bought a luxurious house at 9, Queens wood Avenue, Highgate (now known as 60, Muswell Hill Road, Highgate London N10 3IRfrom 3rd March 1921) in 1900. This place became a base for all political leaders of India. Gandhiji, Lenin, Tilak, Lala Lajpatrai, Gokhle etc visited this house to discuss the plan for Indian Independence Movement. Shyamji disagreed and refused to be associated in any measure with Indian Congress activities, which was largely run by Mr Hume, Mr Waddenburn and company. Shyamji cultivated personal contacts with many person of advanced views such as rationalists, free thinkers, national & social democrats British Socialists, Irish republicans and above all those who were fighting for liberty in the any corner in the world. In 1898, when a free press defence committee was formed in order to resist police attack upon liberty of all opinions Shyamji subscribed generously to its funds. In the same year Pandit Shyamaji met Sardarsinh Rana, his future disciple, associate and friend, who came to London to study law at inner Temple. In 1899, Shyamji strongly criticised Gandhiji, a lawyer from Natal, for supporting British Government in Boer war, when Boers were fighting for their very existence of their small nation. Shyamaji started giving fiery speeches in the free atmosphere of Hyde Park in London, calling for the supports of progressive and sympathetic Britons in the right cause of India’s emancipation. The fire brand speech of Shyamaji set a fire of patriotic feeling in the heart of by passing Indian lady in audience, who would be destined to become a “ Mother of Indian Revolution” in future under the discipleship of Pandit Shamaji Krishnavarma. Shyamji, a follower and disciple of Spencer’s philosophy, announced £1000 donation to establish the lectureship at university of Oxford in memory of Herbert Spencer, an apostle of the freedom of the individuals and principle of a British philosophers, at his funeral service held in Golders Green, on 14/12/1903 as a great tribute and respect to Herbert Spencer and his work. He also planned the programme of carrying out Spenserian propaganda for the benefit of his countrymen. On Herbert Spencer’s 1st death anniversary, 8th Dec 1904, Shyamji announced that Herbert Spencer Indian fellowships of RS 2000 each were awarded to enable Indian graduates to finish education in England. He also announced additional fellowship in memory of the late swami Dayan and Sarasvati the founder of Arya Semaj along with further four fellowships in the future.
LAUNCHING OF THE FIRST REVOLUTIONARY FREEDOM MOVEMENT OF INDIA IN ENGLAND AND EUROPE
In 1905, Shyamji embarked on his great life work for the freedom of his motherland. Shyamji’s new career began as a full -fledged political propagandist and organiser for the alignment of complete independence of India. Shyamji finally made his official debut in Indian politics by publishing first issue of his English monthly “The Indian Sociologist” – an organ of freedom and of political, social and religious reform in January 1905 from his address at 9, Queens Wood Avenue, Highgate, now known as 60, Muswell Hill Road, Highgate. Pandit Shyamaji started vigorous propaganda against British Rule in India through his newspsper. This strong, powerful, patriotic, nationalist and ideological monthly served a great purpose in uplifting Indian mass against British rule and created many more intellectual revolutionaries in the India and abroad to fight for the freedom of India. Shyamaji urged for complete non-cooperation and disassociation with British to achieve Freedom through his ‘The Indian Sociologist’ newspaper and presaged Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance and disobedience movement. Indian Sociologist of Pandit Shyamaj rose to become most famous fire brand anti-colonial and anti-British newspaper of Indian Independence movement all over the world. The British government later called it ‘’sedicious Rag’’ as it spewed venom against British rule in India and propagated against British colonialism and imperialism. On the 18th February 1905, Shyamji inaugurated a new organisation called “The Indian Home Rule Society”. The first meeting held at Shyamji’s residence at Highgate and the meeting unanimously decided to found “The Indian Home Rule Society” with the object of: (1) Securing Home Rule for India. (2) Carrying on Propaganda in England by all practical means with a view to attain the same. (3) Spreading among the people of India knowledge of freedom and national unity. As the racial prejudice barred the way to many boarding houses and hostels to Indian students, he foresaw the necessity of starting a hostel for Indian students. He bought a freehold property at 65, Cromwell Avenue, Highgate and he made an announcement of forthcoming opening of famous India House, a hostel of Indian students with living accommodation for 25 students. India House formally inaugurated on 1st July by Mr. H. M. Hyndman, a leader of social, democratic federation, in presence of many dignitaries, such as Dadabhai Navarojji, Lala Lajpatrai, Madam Cama, Mr. Swinney (from positivist society), Mr.Quelch (the editor of Justice) and Madam Despard (Irish Republican and Suffragette). Declaring “India House” open, Mr H M Hyndman gave a most eloquent and sympathetic speech. He remarked, “As things stands, loyalty to Great Britain means treachery to India. The institution of this India house means a great step in that direction of Indian growth and Indian emancipation, and some of those who are here this afternoon may live to witness the fruits of its triumphant success.” How Prophetic words were of a great statesman! The main purpose of Shyamji Krishnavarma to open this hostel was to create great patriotic revolutionaries by implementing his ideology for the freedom of India. He succeeded in his vision and he produced the greatest revolutionaries such as Madam Bhikhaiji Cama, Sardarsinh Rana, Krantivir Vinayak Savarkar, Virendra Chattopadhyay and Hardayalji etc.
Shyamji attended the United Congress of democrats held at HolbornTown Hall on 29th July 1905, as a chief delegate of the India Home Rule Society. Shyamji scored a tremendous personal success when he rose to move the resolution on India; he received an enthusiastic ovation from the entire conference. The newspapers Reynolds and Daily Chronicle gave remarkable coverage of his speech. Shyamji’s activities in England remained highly volcanic and inflammatory to British Government. The power of his pen shook the British Empire. He was later disbarred from inner temple and removed from the book of the society on 30th April 1909 for writing anti-British articles in Indian Sociologist. Most of the British Press were anti Shyamji and carried out outrageous allegations against him and his newspaper. He defended them boldly. The Times referred to him as the “Notorious Krishnavarma”. Many newspapers criticised liberal British people who supported Shyamji and his view. The British government became highly suspicious of him. As Shyamji realised his movements were closely watched by British Secret Services he finally decided to shift his headquarters to Paris leaving India House in charge of his disciple Vir Savarkar. Pandit Shyamaji gave snap to British Police and intelligence department and left Britain secretly before the British Government tried to arrest him. After Pandit Shyamaji left England, Vinayak Savarkar took in charge of India House, he increased the extremist activities with extra stimulation.
PANDIT SHYAMAJI’S FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN PARIS AND GENEVA AND MARTYRDOM
He arrived in Paris in early 1907 and continued his work vigorously. The British media still remained highly critical of him and tried to use their influence in French media circle. The British government tried to extradite him from France with no success as Shyamaji established a great friendship with many top French politicians who supported him and his cause. Shyamaji soon established his headquarter in Paris and started his propaganda mission to liberate his motherland. He cleverly created close alliance with many prominent Parisians, French Socialists, Irish Freedom fighters and Finnian living in Paris, Chinese and Javanese Pan-Asianists, Egyptian nationalists, Russian anarchists and many French scholars. He soon established world-wide network of Indian Independence Movement as well as anti-Imperialist and anti-colonialist propaganda. He arranged the to send Indian degates to attend the International Socialists Congress through his British friend Mr H.M. Hyndman and sent Madame Cama and Sardarsinh Rana to attend the Socialist International Conference at Stuttgart where Madam Cama created a great history by delivering extraordinary speech and by unfurling the first flag of Indian Independence on international platform. As Shyamaji was the sworn critic of British Rule in India and arch enemy of British Government, his name was dragged into the most sensational trial of Mr. Merlin, an Englishmen, at Bows Court for writing an article in “liberators” published by Shyamji’s friend, Mr. James. Shyamji restlessly worked in Paris to procure support for Indian Independence from European countries with great success. He agitated for the release of Vinayak Savarkar and acquired great support all over Europe and Russia. He sent financial help to V V S Aiyar to fund Savarkar’s legal expenses. Guy Aldred wrote an article in the Daily Herald under the heading of “Savarkar the Hindu Patriot whose sentences expire on 24thDecember 1960”. This created a great support in England too. As the presence of Indian nationalist in Paris would be seriously jeopardised by the outbreak of a European war and the visit of King George to Paris to set a final seal of Entente Cordiale in 1914, Shyamji foresaw the fate and shifted his headquarter to Geneva.
Pandit Shyamaji, who used to very high standard of living in London and Paris, rented luxurious five bedroom flat ‘premis d’etablissement’ from the Canton of Geneva on 18th July 1914. The property is still ideally situated at 1 Rue des Vollandes in the best hot spots of Geneva with a splendid and beautiful view over the famous lake ‘Lac Leman’. Some records also suggest that he also hired two servants for domestic help too. It is strange that Jawaharlal Nehru mentioned shyamaji living accommodation as dark small place in his auto-biography which is absolutely false as he lived in luxurious flat. Did Jawaharlal Nehru deliberately try to discredit him as Pandit Shyamaji was very critical of Congress, Its ideology and many of its loyalist leaders. He continued his struggle for Indian independence, morally and financially, with same enthusiasm but with some restriction as the pledge of political in-action he had given to Swiss Government during the entire period of Second World War. He donated regularly to support Swiss Government during the period of Second World War as his gratitude towards the country who had granted him a political asylum. He kept in touch with his old friends but he could not support them fully, as he was restricted from all political activities. He isolated from his friends like Ranaji, Madam Cama, and his created revolutionaries like Savarker, Hardayal, etc. Although Pandit Shyamaji was bound by the pledge of political in-action, he continued his ctivities secretly on the soil of Switzerland. First of all he contacted his political ally Sir Walter Strickland, an English aristocrat and a notorious and staunch opponent of British Imperialism, whom ShyamajI knew very well since long time as he was regular contributor to Pandit ShyamajI’s ‘The Indian Sociologist’. Sir Walter Strickland was a legal guardian of Mr Champakaran Pillai, a south Indian young patriot, studied in Zurich. Mr Champakaran Pillai left his study and started The International Pro India Committee (IPIC) at Zurich in June 1912 and Sir Walter Strickland and Pandit Shyamaji became the assessors of this organization. Mr Champakaran Pillai published several articles in German newspaper called Der Welt-Wanderer or the which was an organ of leftists association. Pandit Shyamaji also contributed some articles in the Der Wanderer too. Unfortunately, the publication of this newspsper did not survive for longer period and Pillai lost the medium of publishing his Ant-British propaganda. After his arrival in Genava, Pandit Shyamaji supported Mr Champakaran Pillai and Pro India Committee morally and financially. Mr Champakaran Pillai launched his own newspaper ‘’ Pro India’’ as an organ of The International Pro India Committee (IPIC) under the Gudance of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma and his patron Sir Walter Strickland. Now, Mr Pillai took the position of the President of the organization and editor in chief of Pro India and the decision was made to appoint Dr Edward E. Briess, the naturalized Swiss veteran of Indian origin, as vice-president of the organization. Sir Walter Strickland, Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma and the German novelist and theosophist Carl Blebtreu took positions as a board of assessors. Here, Pandit Shyamaji came in contact with Dr. Edward E. Briess and close friendship was established. Shyamji was later shocked and heartbroken when he found out that Dr. Edward E. Briess was a paid secret agent of the British government, as well as the treachery of his old friend whom he trusted. This event left a deep scar in his heart but his support to the cause of Indian Independence remained at his heart at large.
Pandit Shyamaji blended very well in the aristocratic political and social circle of Geneva. He became a member of the Circle DE LA Press and was listed on United Nation’s journalists’ list too. He also traded at Stock Exchange and created close contacts in business community of Geneva. He was always prepared to help for the cause of freedom and injustice. He offered a sum of 10, 000 francs to the league of nations for the purpose of endowing a lectureship to be called President Wilson (USA)Lectureship for the discourse on the best means of acquiring and safeguarding national independence consistently with freedom, justice, and the right of asylum accorded to political refugees. It is said that the league rejected his offer due to political pressure from British Government. When he made a similar offer to Swiss government, it was also turned down. He declared another lectureship to the president of Press Association of Geneva at the banquet given by Press Association of Geneva where 250 journalists and publicists which included the president of Swiss Federation and the league of nations. Shyamji’s offer was applauded on the spot but it met with the same fate as before. Shyamji was very much disappointed with such decision and he published all his abortive correspondence related to these matters in his new issue of the Sociologist on Dec. 1920, after a lapse of almost 6 years. His last two issues of Indian Sociologist were published in August and September 1922, could be taken as his last political will and testament of his work. After several health problems, a great Indian patriot, Shyamji Krishnavarma, breathed his last in hospital at 11:30pm on 30th March1930 leaving his wife Shrimati Bhanumati Krishnavarma with no heir. Shyamaji’s last rites were performed by a great nationalist, educationalist and a founder of Kashi Vidyapeeth, Rashtraratna Shiv Prasad Gupta who coincidently was happened to be in Geneva and went specially to meet Pandit Shyamaji but unfortunately Shiva Prasad’s dream of meeting and talking to a great personality was not fulfilled. British government in India and Britain suppressed the death news of Pandit Shyamaji. Although the best tribute paid to Pandit Shyamaji by great revolutionaries, Sadar Bhagat Singh and his co-revolutionary brothers in Lahore Jail, where they were undergoing a long-term drawn out trial and Maratha, a daily newspaper started by Shri Tilak in Marathi language paid very touching tribute to a great revolutionary. On the very day Gandhiji was marching towards the seaside of Dandi with the bandwagon of world media under the glittering of world publicity to inaugurate the non-cooperation movement which was actually professed by Pandit Shyamaji many years ago. Due to difference in political views with Shyamaji, Gandhiji did not even pay any respect to a great Indian Freedom fighter during his mass demonstration on 6th April 1930 or paid any tribute in his publications.
Pandit Shyamaji’s wife Bhanumati carried out the good work of Shyamji even after his death. She donated 10,000 Swiss Francs in memory of Shyamji to the Geneva University to be used every year for printing and approved thesis on subject of sociological interest. She also donated 10000 Swiss Francs to the hospital in Geneva for the treatment of poor and needy. She presented the whole of the Sanskrit and Oriental Library of Pandit Shyamji to the institute De Civilisation Indienne in the Sorbonne. She donated 90,000 francs to establish a trust in Sorbonne University for awarding scholarship to a suitable number of selected Indian students for prosecuting higher studies in the university. Even today the memory of Shyamji and his wife is preserved in Sorbonne University in the form a memorial plaque in ‘’THE HALL OF HONOURS.’’
Shyamaji had the undisputed faith of the Indian Nationalists who aspires to nothing less than the sovereign independence (Sampurna Swaraj) of Bharat, the Aryavart of his Guru Swami Dayanad’s dream, and he cherished it up to the very end of his life. While the moderates of the Congress Party and renegades worshipped at the unholy church of British Imperialism, Shyamji KrishnaVarma declared undying and uncompromising war against the British occupation of his Motherland. He spent the rest of his life in exile to achieve his goal for independence of India. The seed he sowed for the independence struggle, in early 19th century, brought a fruitful result in 1947, when finally India’s struggle for Independence was over and it became Independent from British Rule. Pandit Shyamaji did not survive to see the glorious result of all his hard work that bore freedom to Mother India, but his vision for freeing his country from the all-embracing strong hold of foreign power and to establish India on the high pedestal of sovereign republic among the free nation of the world, became fulfilled. Shyamji will always be remembered and be seen as an intellectual role model to not only the people of India, but to the people of the world as a great freedom fighter revolutionist with a pen as the weapon of mass destruction and later supported by violent revolution which shook the mighty British Empire. It is truly said by Guy Alfred Aldred, a well-known British anarchist, staunch supporter of Indian Freedom Movement and founder of Bakunin Press Publishing House, that ‘’ There can be a little doubt that Mr Shyamaji Krishnavarma was exercising more powerful influence to alienate his countrymen from English Rule than any other of the Indian leaders.’’
FULLFILMENT OF PANDIT SHYAMAJI’S LAST WISH
Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma did not live to witness the independence of Bharat, but his tremendous efforts, firm conviction and strong confidence of India gaining its freedom from British rule in future was strong and unshakable as he made the prepaid arrangements with the local government of Geneva, Ville de Genève, and St Georges cemetery to preserve his & his wife’s ashes (Asthis) at the cemetery for one hundred years and to send their urns to India whenever India becomes independent during that period. It is a sad and shameful irony in the history of Indian Independence that the Congress Party who took over the charge from British and ruled the government of independent Bharat for almost fifty years did not bother to peruse the matter of bring the urns (Ashis) of Pandit Shyamaji & his wife for their political gains and grudges as Pandit Shyamaji was not a follower of Congress and Gandhidian ideology and policy. The other main reason for the neglect might be that they did not want to bring out the great work and sacrifice rendered by other freedom fighters like Shyamaji and Subhash Chandra Bose, whom they deliberately brushed under the carpet, to promote and protect supreme images of their beloved heroes like Gandhiji’s and Jawaharlal. They portrayed them as being the only two freedom fighter heroes who made the freedom of India possible. Moreover, it is a fact that other political parties of free India also did not bother much on the subject after freedom from British and never pressurised the ruling parties to take positive action on this issue. Surprisingly it is a sad story that the comrades, co-activists, co-revolutionist, beneficiaries of his will,, friends and executor of Mr and Mrs Krishnavarma’s will as well as the relatives of Bhanumatiji and some friends who received thousands of franks in inheritance after shayamaji and Bhanumatiji’s death, had never shown any interest in fulfilling the last desire of Pandit Shyamaji and his wife Bhanumati. The truth always prevails. The deliberate and cunning attempt of Congress Party over fifty years could not suppress the will of fully committed and devoted few patriotic individuals and organisations to keep the lamp of Pandit Shyamaji’s memory burning. There were several attempts were made over last few decades by few individuals like Mr Mangal Bhanushali and Pandit Shyamaji Krishna Foundation, Mandavi, Bharat, to secure the transfer of urns with no conclusive success. The outstanding task was finally taken over by me, Hemant Padhya , a founder and President of Hindu Swatantryavir Smruti Sansthanam, United Kingdom in 1997. He worked very hard to pursue the matter with Local Government of Geneva, Ville de Geneve for many years to fulfil the last wish of PanditShyamaji to bring the Urns (Asthis) to Liberated Bharat from Geneva. Finally my continuous efforts succeeded and the matter finalised after several visits to Geneva. He visited India and approached Shri Mangal Bhanushali, Comparator of Mumbai and Trustee of Krishnavarma foundation, Mandavi, Shri Kirit Somaiya, then Member of parliament, Mulund, Mumbai,. We held a meeting at Shri Kirit Somaiya’s office in Mulund and the plan was discussed with Shri Vinod Khanna, M P of BJP, famous actor of Bollywood and then Minister of External Affairs of Indian Government. Finally Shri Vinod Khannaji finalised the diplomatic procedures as required by the Swiss law and Government , thus the joint efforts of patriots made it possible to receive a long due and momentous occasion in the history of Indian Freedom Movement. On later stage, Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat State, got involved in the process as a head of the state and at last, the urns of Pandit Shyamaji and his wife Bhanumatiji were officially handed over to The Chief Minister Of Gujarat state, Mr Narendra Modiji by Ville de Genève and Swiss Government on 22nd August 2003 in presence of Mr Hemant Padhya, Mr Kirit Somaiya and Mr Mangal Bhanushali. After seventy three years of Pandit Shyamaji’s death and fifty five years after Indian independence, the last wish of Pandit Shyamaji, A Great Indian Freedom Fighter Revolutionary, is fulfilled when Shri Narendra Modi landed with the Urns at Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Air Port, Sahar, and Mumbai on 23rd August 2003, exactly eight days and fifty five years after Indian Independence. Although Mr Hemant Padhya had initially discussed with the authority Ville de Genève to bring Asthis to United kingdom first at Pandit Shyamaji’s previous residence home in London to enable Indian community to pay their respects and homage to Mr and Mrs Krishnavarma before taking them to Bharat, but, for some political and bureaucratic reason, that plan was dropped secretly by the Governments of India. This was an unfortunate unfair and unnecessary decision taken by Indian Authority and all arrangements were made accordingly without prior notification to all parties involved. According to the saying’’ A man proposes and God disposes’’. It might be destined and be desired by the departed soul that their ashes should touch the land of their Karma and Yuddha Bhumi before going to their last and final destination. So the ashes did come to Britain as transit cargo at Heathrow Airport at late night on 22nd August 2003 from Geneva and rested on the British soil for several hours due to some last minutes changes in flight arrangements by officials. A magnificent reception was held at Mumbai Airport and thousands of people from all over India came out to see and pay last homage to their National Hero at Chatrapati Shivaji Airport. After several grand receptions given by fellow Mumbaikars in Mumbai area next day as Bhanumati and Pandit Shyamaji were also the residents of Mumbai in Maharaashtra. The Asthis of Great Indian patriot Shyamaji and his wife were taken around in the form of “VIRANJALI YATRA” by road from Mumbai to Mandavi, Pandit Shyamaji’s birth place in Kutch, Gujarat State. The Asthis were passed through the Thana district of Maharashtra state and first entered into Gujarat in Umergaon taluka, the native of Mr Hemant Padhya whose last efforts made the day possible with help of others. From Umergaon, the Asthis were taken all around Gujarat State to provide an opportunity to the people to pay their last respects to the greatest Freedom Fighter Revolutionary, Pandit Shyamaji and his wife Bhanumati. Finally the Urns containing Asthis reached to it last and final destination Mandavi on 4th September 2003 after travelling 2029 kms. through 17 districts and stoping at 61 main destinations of Gujarat , Where millions of people gathered to pay their respect to their Great Son of The Soil, Kachchhi Bhaydo Shyamaji. The large reception was held on the day to give national honour to Pandit Shyamaji and his wife Bhanumatatij’’s urns containing their ashes (ASTHIS). These Asthis were securely preserved in “Smruti Mandir”, a house where Pandit Shyamaji was born. Many people visited Smruti Mandir and paid respects to Pandit Shyamaji and Bhanumatiji who could not be able to attend the reception ceremony. Among many dignitaries, politicians and government officers visited and paid their homage to the Urns, the Bollywood Mega Star Shri Amitabh Bachchan had paid his homage and respects on 30th May 2010 and he had signed the register too.
REVIVING THE MEMORY OF PANDIT SHYAMAJI IN UNITED KINGDOM
After fulfilling the task of sending the Urns of Ashes to Bharat, Mr Hemant Padhya of H.S.S.S. has fulfilled his aim to erect a memorial plaque at the house where Pandit Shyamaji Lived with his wife from 1900 to 1907 in London at 60 Muswell Hill Road, Highgate.. The memorial plaque of Pandit Shyamaji was unveiled on 15th August 2004 by Mr Ramiji Ranger, Five times Queens’ Best business Awardee British business Tycoon and a son of a great patriot martyr Nanaksinghji, after the tremendous efforts in persuading the local authority in 2006. Hindu Swatantryavir Smruti Sansthanam, has established Silver Medals in the memory of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma at OCHS at Oxford University where Pandit Shyamaji worked and studied and also at College de France, Paris where Pandit shyamaji’s collection of rare books are preserved and Krishnavarma Foundation was established by Bhanumatiji. Sincere and dedicated efforts of Mr Hemant Padhya made it possible to persuade the Indian Institute library of University of Oxford to honour Pandit Shyamaji by unveiling his portrait in the Hall of honour at the library where Sir Monier Monier Williams’s portrait is placed. Thus Mr Padhya’s efforts made it possible to provide the deserved prestigious honour to Pandit Shyamaji at Indian Institute Library at The University of Oxford as Pandit ShyamajI rendered a great service in formation of Indian Institute as an assistant to Sir Monier-Williams. Mr Hemant G Padhya has also established Silver Medals in memory of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma at College de France, Sorbonne University, and Paris and at Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, a part of The University of Oxford in United Kingdom. He has also published the first silver coin in memory of Panditji in 15th August 2004 and a set of coins in memory of Pandit Shyamaji, Madam Cama, and Vir Savarkarand MaharanI Laxmibai in 2005.
In summer 2012, the property where Pandit Shyamaji lived between 1900 and 1907 was for sale for £1,750,000 (approximately 18 crore rupees) and the owner Mr & Mrs gave the first preference of purchase to Mr Hemant Padhya to convert the property into a museum as discussed and promised earlier if the people of India and Gujarat state as well as Central Government of India would be interested to purchase the property and convert it into a Museum of Pandit Shyamaji and of Indian Freedom movement in London. Pandit Hemant Padhya tried his utmost through his contacts Mr MangalbhaI Bhanushali and Mr Vishnubhai Pandya to convince Gujarat Government to finance the project to buy this property of historic importance as this property was not only a residence of a great Indian Freedom Fighter Revolutionary but also a headquarter of ‘Indian Home Rule Society’’ and publishing house of ‘The Indian Sociologist.’’ Unfortunately, the Government of Gujarat and Central Government did not show any interest to buy this property and convert it into a museum. Mr Hemant Padhya, Mangalbhai bhanushali and Mr Vishnubhai Pandya did not give up the hope and tried hard to get support from Kutchi and Gujarati organizations, businessmen and industrialists in India and in United Kingdom but no financial support came forward for the memorial of Pandit Shyamaji whose contribution to Indian Freedom Movement was not less than Gandhi or others if not more. This was again a big disappointing, disheartening and disgraceful scenario in the Indian Independence history that no Indian millionaires, organizations or Governments came forward to give financial help to establish a temple Indian Freedom Movement and a memorial of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma in London. Atlast the property was sold on market and the golden opportunity is lost due to ungrateful and passive attitude of Indians toward freedom fighters except few chosen one like Gandhiji and Nehru.
Mr Hemant Padhya had written and published books titled ‘’Photographic Reminiscence of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma’’ and ‘’ Introduction to Indian Freedom Fighter – Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma’’ through www.pothi.com. Mr Hemant Padhya has written the lyrics dedicated to Pandit Shyamaji and pulbished those in the form of e-books titled ”Shraddhanjali”. Some selected lyrics were later published and distributed in form of MP3 CD Album along with the biography and life works of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma in 2014. This Double Album was launched by a great Kathakar Shri Rameshbhai Oza at the anniversary celebration arranged by Mr Mangalbhai Bhanushali at Ghatkopar, Mumbai.
The Chief Minister of Gujarat State, Shri Narendra Modiji had allocated 89.86 acres of land on the out skirt of Mandavi at Maska Road, Salaya to build a remarkable memorial of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma called ‘’ Kranti Teerth’’ in 2003. The most ambitious and work of art project was promised by him to be completed by 2010. The announcement of this project was to provide the respect and honour not only to Pandit Shyamaji but also to other Forgotten Freedom fighter Revolutionaries whose name and fames are not much publicised in the history of Indian Freedom Movement. The foundation stone of Kranti Teerth project was laid by Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 4th of October 2009 and a magnificent Kranti Tirth was inaugurated by the chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi on 13th December 2010. The Urns containing the Ashes [ASTHIS] of Shyamaji and his wife Bhanumatiji are Transferred from Shyamaji’s birth Place Smruti Mandir in Mandvi town to Kranti Tirth gallery and a beautiful life size statues of Pandit Shyamaji and Bhanumatiji was also erected and unveiled. At last in the history of Indian Freedom, The Forgotten Hero of Indian Independence and first freedom fighter Revolutionary of Maharashtra and Gujarat was given a long waited honour and respects which he deserved. Since the Kranti Tirth is opened to the public in 2010, thousands of people and many dignitaries have visited and paid their tributes to the great Indian Freedom Fighter Revolutionary who started Freedom movement in London more than fifteen years before Gandhiji entered into the arena of Indian freedom movement. Every Indian must take a pride in their national heroes who sacrificed their life for the freedom of our motherland irrespective of their paths, methods, ideology and location. Every Indian irrespective of their political affiliation or ideology must pay their respects equally to those who sacrificed their life on the altar of their motherland. They must take a vow and commitment that no other patriot heroes would ever be ignored for his/her sacrifice alike Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma.
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