Was Veer Savarkar a freedom fighter?
savarkar was member of India House and wrote many articles against British rule in India. when he was jailed for his inflammatory articles, he pleaded in writing for clemency in which he renounced revolutionary activities. he was pardoned and thereafter he never supported freedom struggle. He associated himself only with Hidutva writings upholding Brahminism, varna system and vedic rituals. His pleading for clemency demotivated many revolutionaries therefore caused great harm to freedom fighting movement. Later on he openly opposed "Quit India" movement. he made appeal to Indians to help Britishers to fight against Japanese, with whom Subash Chandra Bose was affiliated. after Independence Godse was blessed by him on his mission called " let Gandhi die". he was also an accused in Gandhi murder case but acquitted in absence of concrete evidences.
Veer Savarkar was definitely a freedom fighter. He had his views on many issues other than obtaining freedom for India. He also undertook many activities to advance those ideas. Those Ideas and activities so not in any way reduce the importance of his efforts and sacrifice for the country.
The statement about Savarkar pleading for clemency and renouncing revolutionary activities are open to doubts. But for the sake of this discussion let us assume that these are right. Then it cannot be denied that he indulged in revolutionary activities, and that these activities were serious enough for the Britishers to jail him for extended period, and then obtain a written statement from him pleading clemency and renouncing revolutionary activities. And by the way renouncing violent revolutionary activities is not same as renouncing struggle for freedom. His apology, if real, only point that he was not as strong as we would like others to be. But he was still much stronger than all of us.
It is worthwhile remembering that Mahatma Gandhi never supported or engaged in revolutionary activities. He always opposed such activities. For example, he described actions of Bhagat Singh as "unfortunate". This does not cast any doubt on his credentials as a freedom fighter.
There are many other areas where the justification for doubting credentials Savarkar cited in question above, have parallel in actions and belief of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi also opposed the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose. IN first World War he not only expressed verbal support for the British but actually participated in the war efforts physically by providing medical support to the Army. Mahatma Gandhi was the one to start the Quit India, but then he was also the one to suspend that movement, against opposition of many, saying that the country was not ready for such movement. If Mahatma Gandhi is a freedom fighter in spite of all this, why cant Savarkar be considered a freedom fighter in spite of all his dissenting views.
People with much less contribution to the freedom struggle are officially declared freedom fighters and draw many benefits from government on that account. Savarkar is projected in negative light by some political parties in India, which maligns the image of many great sons of India to promote their self interests. Many of the statements about Savarkar in the question above has been circulated by motivated persons to serve their personal interests.
first of all i wish to say that everyone who participated in freedom movement was a freedom fighter. however savarkar's plea for clemency negated him the right to be called freedom fighter. further his negative role towards freedom movement, glorification of hindutva and involvment in gandhi murder ( sorry to say murder as RSS activist call it "gandhi vadh") can not be equated with nationalism.
secondly his clemency appeal is matter of record and there is no doubt. if you want to read that letter you can from official record. he was sentenced first for writing against british rule and further for his attempt to escape while he was being transported to india. he was sentenced for , i m not sure, 40 odd years and he begged clemency after 10 yrs in jail.
thirdly gandhi called the actions of garam dal( revolutionaries) as unfortunate.
we the people of india and congress are afraid to accept that we got independence not just bcos of freedom movement yes its contribution can not be denied in totality.