February 4, 2023 2:21 pm


Importance and Relevance of Shyamji Krishna Varma’s Contributions

As an Indian patriot, lawyer, and journalist, his endowments are significant and should be promoted to educate today’s generation about the power of an intellectual mind. 

2min Read

As India today celebrates the 165th Birth Anniversary of Freedom Fighter Shyamji Krishna Verma, his immense contributions to India’s freedom struggle have not been recognised. As an Indian patriot, lawyer, and journalist, his endowments are significant and should be promoted to educate today’s generation about the power of an intellectual mind. 

Born on October 4th 1857, in the small town of Mandvi in the Kutch district of Gujarat, Shayamji’s will to educate got him to the renowned Oxford University in London. He educated the students of Oxford in the Indian classical language Sanskrit and propagated Indian culture in foreign lands.  

Shyamji represented India at various international forums. During a lecture on the “origin of writing in India” at the Royal Asiatic Society, his speech was well appreciated and shortly thereafter, he was elected as a non-resident member of the society. Also In 1881, he represented India at the Berlin congress of orientalists.

From an early age, Shyamji was a great admirer of Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s philosophy of Vedas and cultural nationalism. He inculcated Dayanand’s spiritual and nationalist values and it was due to his inspiration that he established the India House in 1905 in London. Indians had long been facing racism at the hands of Britishers in London, so he established this accommodation to promote nationalism among the Indian students. It soon became a center for organised meetings that propagated revolutionary Indian nationalism from outside India. 

In the same year of 1905, two more significant moves were made by Shyamji to gather support for India’s freedom struggle outside India. 

The formation of the Indian Home Rule Society (IHRS) in London was one such strategic move to promote the cause of self-rule in British India. It saw participation by renowned personalities like Bhikaji Cama, Dadabhai Naoroji, and SR Rana. Established as a rival to the British Committee of the Indian National Congress, IHRS gathered huge support from the young Indian students in Britain. 

Simultaneously, Shyamji started an English monthly magazine “Indian Sociologist”, which was used as an outlet for spreading nationalist ideas. He used the magazine to express his views on British and Indian politics. His extremist views soon caught the attention of Britishers and they started the persecution of the printers of the newspapers. Shyamji was barred and thereafter he fled to Paris in 1907. 

Also in 1909, he was barred from practising law by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, following charges of sedition for writing against the colonial government in his magazine. Although in 2015, he was posthumously reinstated by the Inner Temple after their governing council noted that Shyamji did not receive a fair hearing. 

After continuing India’s freedom struggle in Europe for a long tenure, Shyamji breathed his last and died on March 30th 1930 on foreign soil in Geneva, Switzerland. His devotion to his motherland and contributions to the same, caught the attention of the government when in 2003 his ashes were brought back from Geneva to India by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. 

Soon after in 2010, a memorial for Shyamji called Kranti Peeth was built and inaugurated in his hometown Mandvi by our present PM Narendra Modi. The memorial has a complex that is a replica of the India House building in London. Along with the statues of Shyamji and his wife, the memorial also has urns containing their ashes. 

Shyamji Krishna Varma Memorial in Mandvi

The ultimate motive of Shyamji for carrying India’s freedom struggle in the foreign land was to free India from the shackles of British colonialism. His contribution played an important role in gathering support from Indians abroad and led to the independence of India in 1947. The recent initiative by the Indian government to recognise the contributions of the lesser-known Indian freedom fighters will be of great significance for the younger generations. 

Shreya Arora
Shreya Arora

Researcher | Content-Writer
~"Learn continually - there's always 'one more thing' to learn!"

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