To The Ocean Poem by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

To The Ocean

Take me, O Ocean! Take me to my Motherland!
My soul is in torment away from her,
So much torment, O Ocean! Did not I always see you
Lapping worshipfully at my Mother's feet?
Did not you call me to visit other Lands,To see the bounties of nature abound, said you.

My Mother's heart, so full of pain and uncertainty it was,To hear of the parting of our ways!
Then, a sacred oath you did give-to her,
Carrying me on your back,
My speedy homecoming, you promised-to her.

The way home is known, said you. Believe this your promise, did I!
More worldly-wise and able, be I
More worthy to extol her glory, be I
Upon my return. So saying, so believing, I bid farewell-to her!

My soul is in torment away from her,
So much torment, O Ocean! Duped was I-Like a parrot in a cage, Like a deer in a trap!
Doomed by this continual separation,
Besieged with darkness am I!
Gathering the Flowers of Virtue, Desiring to shower my Mother by its fragrance was I.

O, but of what use all my knowledge is, Doomed to be a mere burden it be,
When use it not for her glorification can I!
Estranged am I from Her Garden of Flowers, For the love of the
Her mango tree, pine I
For Her trailing vines, pine I
For the bud of the Her rose, pine I My soul is in torment away from her,
So much torment, O Ocean!
O, abounding with stars is the heaven above,
But love only do I-The bright Star of my Motherland!

O, abounding with magnificent palaces these lands are,
But love only do I
Ever the humble hut in my Motherland!
What care I for a promised Kingdom-without Her?

O, to be with my Mother
Ever a life exiled in her forests choose I. More deception is futile now, O Lord of the Rivers,
Let you not be spared, vow I
Suffer the same pangs, say I
Of separation from the most beloved of your rivers!
My soul is in torment away from her,
So much torment, O Ocean!

O pitiless One, how you mock me with your foaming surf!
Think you my Mother is helpless? -that you dare deceive her so!
That you dare condemn me to this longing so!
Why do you go back on your word?
So afraid of Britain be you?
-She does flaunt her mastery over you so! Quail before a fearsome Britain, do you?
But, not so my Mother, see you!
No! My Mother is not so feeble! Tell this tale to Sage Agasti she will, Fear him, who in one gulp your waters drank!
Take me, O Ocean! Take me to my Motherland!
My soul is in torment away from her, So much torment, O Ocean!

Savarkar’s close associate Madan Lal Dhingra bravely went to the gallows for the cause of India’s freedom on 17 July 1909. The British Police were now keenly shadowing Savarkar. Dhingra’s martyrdom and the subsequent repression by British authorities took its toll on Savarkar’s health. On 29 July, Savarkar went to Brighton, around 50 miles south of London to recuperate his health. He remained there for about 10-12 days. His associate Niranjan Pal would visit him to give him moral support. The two would frequently roam on the shores of Brighton. On one such occasion both of them were sitting on the seashore surrounded by dozens of mirthful English men and women. In the midst of this mirth, Savarkar was immensely sad. Sitting in front of the vast ocean, his mind was grieving at the thought of his beloved motherland. Niranjan Pal described that momentous occasion 29 years later in an article titledReminiscences of Savarkar dated 27 May 1938 in ‘The Mahratta’, Pune. Pal wrote, “Presently, he (Savarkar) commenced to hum a song. He sang as he composed. It was a Marathi song, describing the pitiable serfdom of India. Forgetful of all else, Savarkar went on singing. Presently, tears began to roll down his cheeks. His voice became choked. The song remained unfinished, Savarkar began to weep like a child.” The song Sagaras (To the Ocean) has become immortal in Marathi literature.
Sham Bidikar 19 June 2015

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Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Bhagur, Maharashtra / India
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