Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter on Wednesday and paid tribute to Indian nationalist leader and freedom struggle leader Shyamji Krishna Varma, a freedom fighter, on his 160th birth anniversary. “I bow to the venerable Shyamji Krishna Varma on his Jayanti. His patriotic zeal and efforts for India’s freedom can never be forgotten,” Modi tweeted.
So, who is Shyamji Krishna Varma?
Considered as a staunch nationalist, Shyamji Krishna Varma founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and The Indian Sociologist in London. The monthly Indian Sociologist became an outlet for nationalist ideas and through the Indian Home Rule Society, he criticised the British rule in India. Varma, who became the first President of Bombay Arya Samaj, was an admirer of Dayanand Saraswati, and he inspired Veer Savarkar who was a member of India House in London. Verma also served as the Divan of a number of states in India.
Born in 1857 in modern-day Gujarat, Varma completed his education in India, before moving on to teach Sanskrit at the Oxford University. Varma was a barrister in London, when in 1905 he was barred from practising law by the Inner Temple following charges of sedition for writing against the colonial government. The move was significant as the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple is one of the four professional associations for barristers and judges in London. Varma was posthumously reinstated by the Inner Temple in 2015 after the Inn’s governing council noted that Varma “did not receive an entirely fair hearing”.
In the face of criticism by the British, Varma, shifted his base from England to Paris and continued his movement. After the outbreak of the Second World War, however, he moved to Geneva in Switzerland and spent the rest of his life there. He died on March 30, 1930.