While in London, Savarkar decided to observe the death anniversary of Guru Govind Singh in a grand manner at Caxton Hall, London. Savarkar planned to invite Bipin Chandra Pal to preside over the meeting. Savarkar printed invitation letters for the occasion. The invitation letters read as follows:
THE BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF
GURU GOVIND SINGH
( The Great Nation Builder of India)
A MEETING OF INDIANS
WILL BE HELD AT
Caxton Hall, Westminster, S.W.,
TUESDAY the 29 th day of DECEMBER, 1908,
AT 3 P.M. PRECISELY
UNDER THE PRESIDENCY OF
Deshbandhoo Bipan Chandra Pal.
YOUR PRESENCE IS EARNESTLY SOLICITED.
SAT- SHRI- AKAL !!
Below the invitation was Savarkar’s handwritten note that said, “You are specially requested to come at any cost. Without you we will not think the meeting a success. It is your duty alone to honour Shri Gurusahib. Yours V.D.S.”
To commemorate the occasion, Savarkar specially composed a poem titled “Priyakar Hindusthan” (Beloved Hindusthan). As luck would have it, there was heavy snowfall with gusty winds on 29 December. The streets of London were covered by knee deep snow. But that did not deter a large number of Indians from attending the programme. The dais was adorned by a large pink coloured banner which flaunted the words Deg, Teg and Fateh. The motto “Honour to the sacred memory of SHRI GURU GOVIND SINHA, prophet, poet and writer was written in multicolour on the banner. On the right side of the dais was the flag of free India that had been unfurled by Madam Cama at Stuttgart, Germany. The atmosphere was filled with sacred incense. President Bipin Chandra Pal, Madam Cama and Perin Ben Nowroji, Lala Lajpat Rai were among those on the dais. The meeting started with the singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ and the Bengali song ‘Aamaar Desh’. Then Savarkar’s newly composed poem ‘Priyakar Hindusthan’ was sung. This was followed by two Sikh youths saying two Punjabi prayers of Guru Nanak. Then Dr. Gokul Chand Narang read out his essay on the life of Guru Govind Singh. This was followed by speeches delivered by Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal. At Pal’s request, Savarkar gave a stirring speech explaining the greatness of Guru Govind Singh and the significance of the words deg (principle), teg (sword) and fateh (victory). Savarkar’s associate MPT Acharya later recalled (Mahratta, Pune 27 August 1937) that Savarkar’s speech on that occasion was so brilliant and scholarly that even a Sikh scholar could not have done better. Then, Savarkar’s pamphlet titled ‘Khalsa’ was distributed. This was followed by ‘Karah Prasad’. The meeting ended with cries hailing Guru Govind Singh and shouts of ‘Vande Mataram’. The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mirror and other papers prominently carried news of this meeting. In the evening, Savarkar arranged a private dinner at the India House.
Given below is an English translation of Savarkar’s poem ‘Priyakar Hindusthan’ with the Marathi original. The translation has been done by Anurupa Cinar.
सकल जागामधि छान I अमुचे प्रियकर हिंदुस्थान
केवळ पंचप्राण I आमुचे सुंदर हिंदुस्थान II धृ II
बहुत पाहिले बहुत ऐकिले देश परि ते सान
सान मिसर पाताल आंग्लभू सान चीन जापान
बहुत गिरि, परि तुझाच गिरिवर हिमालयाचा मान
कवण नदी हे श्रीगंगेसम पूत-सुधाजल-पान
कस्तूरी-मृग-परिमल-पूरित जिचे फुलावे रान
प्रभात-काली कोकिल-किलकिल-कूजित आम्रोद्यान
यज्ञ-धूम-सौगंध मनोहर जिचे सामरव-गान
ऐकुनी येती जिथे कराया देव सोमरसपान
कालिदास कवि गाती, गौतम शिकविति सांख्यद्यान
म्लेच्छ-विनाशक विक्रम दे तुज स्वातंत्र्यश्रीदान
जिजा जन्म दे शिवा जिच्यास्तव गुरु पुत्रांचे प्राण
जिच्यास्तवचि त्या कुमारिकांसी विस्तवांत ये न्हाण
तुझ्या जलांही अनंत पितरां दिले तीलांजलि-दान
पुण्यभूमि तू ! पितृभूमि तू ! तू अमुचा अभिमान
जननी ! जगत्त्रयि शक्त कोण जो करिल तुझा अपमान
प्राणदान-संसिद्ध असुनि त्वत-त्रिदश-कोटि संतान ?
जननी ! तुझ्या सन्मान- राक्षणी अर्पु रणी हे प्राण
शत्रूकंठ भंगोनि घालु तुज दारुण रक्तास्नान
O, Beautiful Hindusthan! Our very soul you are!
O, beloved Hindusthan,
The most delightful one of all you are!
So many Lands seen and heard of,
Beside her, all so very small do seem!
Puny are Egypt, China, and Japan,
Britain very much a hell, I deem!
So many mountains there are---
Himalaya, the Most Esteemed One, is yours
So many rivers there are---
Holy Ganga, the River of Flowing Nectar, is yours!
We have lush and divine forests here
Steeped in the musk of the Kasturi deer.
We have the glorious mango groves here
Where cooing Koyals bring in the morning cheer!
The melodious chanting of the Samaveda
Through the fragrant sacrificial smoke resounding,
Lures the Gods from their heavenly abode
To come here for their Somras carousing.
Here the Poet Kalidas croons his tender verse,
And the Sage Gautama Sankhyadyan doth reveal.
Here The Goddess of Freedom readily bestowed
The heroic Vikram to rout the Shakas with zeal.
Here too was born of Jijabai, Chatrapati Shivaji,
And Maidens embracing the pyre for their honor.
Bricked to death here were the Sons of the Great Guru,
So staunch were they in their loyal Hindu fervor!
Here to countless of our forefathers we offer
Oblations of your holy water with pride!
You are---Our Holy land! Our Father land!
Our Honor, and Our Pride!
O Mother, O Our Queen!
Who will dare insult you?
Countless Sons you have
To give up their very life for you!
To defend your honor and virtue,
Willingly die we shall!
Slash the enemy throat in battle,
And offer you a bath of blood we shall!