What is the significance of Savarkar’s contribution to the social reform movement?

During early years of British regime, there used to be two schools of thought, in Maharashtra. One school, led by Tilak believed that the political reforms should precede social reforms. The other school led by Agarkar held just the opposite view. Savarkar reconciled both viewpoints. Although in politics, as he himself once remarked, he belonged to the ‘sappers and miners’ of Tilak, in social problems he concurred with Agarkar. There have been many distinguished social reformers in modern India. Most of them were however aloof from the freedom struggle. Savarkar was a rare exception. As a rule, contemporary society used to be hostile to social reformers but the British Government was not against them. On the other hand, Savarkar had to face hostility of the society as well as the Government. In Ratnagiri, his house was searched by the police several times and his books were banned. People were scared to associate with him. Unlike many ‘reformers’ he practiced what he preached. He was a general as well as a soldier. He had to work with very meagre financial resources. The year ending balance of 1929 of the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha, under whose auspices Savarkar worked, was a princely sum of a rupee and a quarter!

Forget if you may, my jump into the sea, but do not forget my views on social problems”, spake Savarkar.

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