Most historians, British as well as Indian, have described and dismissed the rising of 1857 as a ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ or at best ‘The Indian Mutiny’. Indian revolution is on the other hand, and national minded leaders thinkers have regarded it as a planned and organised political and military rising aimed at destroying the British power in India.
Savarkar attempted to look at the incidents of 1857 from the Indian point of view. A leading revolutionary himself, he was attracted and inspired by the burning zeal, the heroism, bravery, suffering and tragic fate of the leaders of 1857, and he decided to re-interpret the story and to relate it in full with the help of all the material available to him at the time. He spent days and months at the India Office Library studying the period. Savarkar wrote this book originally in Marathi and completed writing it in 1908. As it was impossible to get this book published in India, the manuscript was returned back to Savarkar. Attempts to get this book published in Germany also failed. Some Indian students staying in India House translated this book into English. Finally, this work was published in Holland in 1909, under the title “The Indian War of Independence –1857”. The second edition of this book was published by Lala Hardayal on behalf of the Gadar Party in America, the third edition was published by Sardar Bhagat Singh, while the fourth edition was published by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in the Far East. This book was translated ino Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil. Further, one edition was published secretely in India after the end of World War II. The original Marathi manuscript was kept in the safe custody of Madame Cama in Paris. This manuscript was handed over to Dr. Coutinho of the Abhinav Bharat when Paris was in turmoil during World War I. Dr. Coutinho preserved it like a holy scripture for nearly 40 years. After India became independent, he returned it to Ramlal Vajpeyee and Dr. Moonje who in turn gave it back to Savarkar. The ban on this book was finally lifted by the Congress Government of Bombay in May 1946.