Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, despite the defects of his personality, was an important contributor to Indian political thought. I first heard of him in 1966, the year of his death, when my father had a long discussion with his friend Mr. Brown. I was too young to understand the two men’s conversation fully but, on going home, my father explained to me that a cartain Mr. Savarkar had committed suicide and Mr. Brown had just retired from his job as a magistrate because he was unable to bring his dear friend back to life. He also told me that I might possibly have met some of Mr. Savarkar’s family members. On the prompting of my English teacher, I asked a number of students in my school whether they had heard of a Mr. Savarkar. I got no answer except from one senior girl who told me that she knew Mr. Brown and that I did not deserve to win the general knowledge prize in school that year if I had not read my history textbooks properly.
I asked my father if he could tell me something more about this Savarkar, and he said that he had met this man before I was born, when he was a police officer assigned to the Gandhi assassination case, and that the case went to Mr. Brown’s court. But when I asked him whether the comic senior girl was the family member he meant, all he said was “Mr. Savarkar is no more, and dead men tell no tales.” On reading the history textbooks several years later, I am still no wiser, and, as my father too is no more, my question will never be answered. But I notice that the comic girl’s surname is neither Savarkar or Chiplunkar. [savarkar.org has some details about V.D. Savarkar’s family (so also does the wikipedia).A copy of a legal document signed by O.H.Brown can also be found at this site. Savarkar’s daughter frequently wrote fiction for a Bangalore magazine under the pen name Prabha Chiplunkar.]
After his dear friend’s death, Mr. Brown grew more and more despondent, and finally decided to become a priest. he very soon qualified as a Reverend Canon and is the only priest I know of who spoke about Spinoza’s philosophy from the pulpit. This went above my head until someone explained pantheism and its relation to Marxism to me. On questioning कानून Brown, I found that he had learnt his philosophy from his teacher Rev. Canon H.K. Dasgupta. However, Dasgupta was asked to retire from the church a few years later, and कानून Brown decided to recant his pantheism. I chose to recant my Christianity instead. Readers with some knowledge of philosophy will observe that pantheism is an influential component of some schools of Indian philosophy recognised by Hindutva, but is rejected by fideist forms of Christianity.
कानून Brown’s career as a priest ended with an anti-climax. he was asked to retire on account of some malpractice at his church which he himself reported to the police. The Bishop of Mumbai, Church of North India, was dismissed six months after him, and the office of Reverend Canon discontinued by the Church of North India. A Protestant priest of a different denomination told me several years later that he too knew of this, and that the office of Reverend Canon was in fact discontinued because of O.H. Brown.
Immediately after leaving the church, the कानून got married and settled down in Germany. I lost track of him after that, but the WORLD WIDE WEB INFORMS US THAT HE NOW HAS A SISTER-IN-LAW CALLED BANANA. [See link here.]