Vikram Sampath, a Bangalore-based historian, is the author of three acclaimed
books-Splendours of Royal Mysore: The Untold Story of the Wodeyars, My
Name Is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician and Voice of the
Veena, S. Balachander: A Biography. Vikram was awarded the Sahitya
Akademi's first Yuva Puraskar in English literature and the ARSC International
Award for Excellence in Historical Research in New York for his book on Gauhar
Jaan. The book has also been adapted as a play, Gauhar, by Lillete Dubey and
is being adapted into a Hindi movie by Ashutosh Gowariker.
Vikram has a doctorate in history and music from the University of Queensland,
Australia, and is currently a senior fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and
Library, New Delhi. An engineer/mathematician from BITS Pilani and an MBA in
finance from S.P. Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai, he is also a trained
Carnatic vocalist. He has established the Archive of Indian Music, India's first
digital sound archive for vintage recordings, and is the founder-director of the Bangalore Literature Festival, Indic Thoughts Festival and the ZEE Group's
ARTH: A Culture Fest.
As the intellectual fountainhead of the ideology of Hindutva, which is in political
ascendancy in India today, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is undoubtedly one of
the most contentious political thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century.
Accounts of his eventful and stormy life have oscillated from eulogizing
hagiographies to disparaging demonization. The truth, as always, lies
somewhere in between and has unfortunately never been brought to light.
Savarkar and his ideology stood as one of the strongest and most virulent
opponents of Gandhi, his pacifist philosophy and the Indian National Congress.
An alleged atheist and a staunch rationalist who opposed orthodox Hindu
beliefs, encouraged inter-caste marriage and dining, and dismissed cow worship
as mere superstition, Savarkar was, arguably, the most vocal political voice for
the Hindu community through the entire course of India's freedom struggle. From
the heady days of revolution and generating international support for the cause
of India's freedom as a law student in London, Savarkar found himself arrested,
unfairly tried for sedition, transported and incarcerated at the Cellular Jail, in the
Andamans, for over a decade, where he underwent unimaginable torture.
From being an optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the
1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him in the Cellular Jail
to a proponent of 'Hindutva', which viewed Muslims with suspicion?
Drawing from a vast range of original archival documents across India and
abroad, this biography in two parts-the first focusing on the years leading up to
his incarceration and eventual release from the Kalapani-puts Savarkar, his life
and philosophy in a new perspective and looks at the man with all his
achievements and failings.
Bangalore-based historian Vikram Sampath is the author of seven acclaimed books, including Splendours of Royal Mysore: The Untold Story of the Wodeyars; My Name Is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician; Voice of the Veena: S Balachander: A Biography; Women of the Records and Indian Classical Music and the Gramophone: 1900-1930. His latest books, published by Penguin Random House India, are the two-volume biography Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past and Savarkar: A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966. Both the volumes have gone on to become national best sellers.
In 2021, Vikram was elected as fellow to the prestigious Royal Historical Society of the United Kingdom. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi's first Yuva Puraskar in English literature and the ARSC International Award for excellence in historical research in New York for his book on Gauhar Jaan. The book has also been adapted to theatre as a play Gauhar by Lillette Dubey and is being adapted to a Bollywood film by Ashutosh Gowariker. Vikram was among the four writers and artists to be selected as a writer-in-residence at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2015. Vikram has a doctorate in history and music from the University of Queensland, Australia, and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. He is also an Aspen Global Leadership Fellow and an Eisenhower Global Fellow 2021. An engineer/mathematician from BITS-Pilani and with an MBA degree in finance from S. P. Jain, Mumbai, Vikram is also a trained Carnatic vocalist. He has established the Archive of Indian Music, India's first digital sound archive for vintage recordings. He is the founder-director of the Bangalore Literature Festival and curates the ZEE Group's ARTH-A Culture Fest.