What were the interactions between Savarkar and Gandhi?

Savarkar came to London on 24 June 1906. His activities started immediately thereafter. Gandhi came to London in October, leading a deputation on behalf of Indians in South Africa, who were facing severe discrimination there. Gandhi had no reason to visit the India House, a house in Highgate, London converted into an Indian students’ hostel. He was 14 years older than Savarkar and was not new to London. He studied Law in London during 1888-1891. But the reputation of Savarkar was such that Gandhi could not resist the temptation of meeting him.

Despite having passed his examinations in July 1909, Savarkar was not called to the Bar by the benchers of Grays Inn because of his political activities (namely, fighting for the freedom of India from British rule).

Gandhi was once again in London in November. Savarkar then organized a public gathering of Indians to celebrate the festival of Vijayadashami. He requested Gandhi to be its Chairman. In his speech Gandhi said, “Though I have my differences with Savarkar, I consider it a great honour to be in his company today.” Referring to the fact that Savarkar was not called to the Bar, Gandhi said, “May India bear the fruits of his sacrifices.”

In 1923, Savarkar was sent to Yerawada Jail in Pune. Gandhi was also kept in the same jail, but the two were not allowed to meet.

In 1927, Savarkar was in internment in Ratnagiri. Gandhi who was then on a tour of Maharashtra happened to visit that town. As Savarkar was ill, he invited Gandhi to his house. Gandhi and his wife Kasturba gladly accepted the invitation on 08 March.
In response to a civic reception given by Ratnagiri Municipality, Gandhi said,

“As Ratnagiri is the birth place of Lokmanya Tilak, it is a place of pilgrimage to all Indians. I wanted to visit this place because, in addition, it is also a place where Savarkar lives. I had previously met him in London. I admire his patriotism and sacrifices. As he is in internment, it was my duty to come to Ratnagiri to meet him”


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