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Opinion

This foreigner inspired the “Revolutionaries of India” to fight against the British

You must know about him! The way he had enlightened the lives of Italy was inspiration to every leaders who loves their country! “Vinayak Damodar Sawarkar”, well-known revolutionist in Indian history written on that ‘One great personality”, who conquered entire Italy from Austrians using 100 men!

After the first war indian independence, 1857, Indians were gradually loosing hope on independence! Darkness surrounded everywhere! But, when Veer Sawarkar led every freedom fighters to read the history of “The Great Revolutionaries” around the world, this man came into light and inspired every Indian revolutionaries to attain the independence!

Do you know who he is?

“Giuseppe Mazzini!!” whenever Italy hears his name, a thousand volts current enters!!

He was born in Genoa on June 22nd, 1805 in a middle class family where his father was a professor of anatomy! Mazzini was extremely delidcate as an infant, and as a young child, giving his parents cause for concern. From young age, he showed signs of intellectual precocity possessing a tremendous interest in books and spending many hours reading!

Mazzini entered the university of Genoa at the age of fourteen where he studied law! During his student life, many associates were impressed by his gentle, generous and noble character!

In April 1821 a large number of would-be revolutionaries, who had not prevailed in an insurrection against Austria, sought refuge in Genoa. Mazzini felt that his spirit was crushed by the impossibility he felt of ever conceiving by what means to free his country from foreign rule. From that time Mazzini decided to dress always in black as if in mourning for his country.

Mazzini joined the revolutionary Carbonari society, and was sympathetic to the widespread European efforts at liberal and constitutional revolution in 1830. Mazzini was arrested, (principally it seems because he appeared to be an unorthodox thinker) and, on evidence that Mazzini regarded as being contrived, sentenced to a term in jail for allegedly introducing another young man into the Carbonari. Mazzini subsequently spent six months of imprisonment at Savona (1830-31), during which time he took upon himself the “apostolate” (in Mazzini’s own terminology) of working to achieve “liberty of country” for “Italia.”

In April of 1831 there was a change of monarch in Sardinia-Piedmont with the succession of Charles Albert who, in constitutional agitations of 1821, had had links with the Carbonari. In the summer of 1831 Mazzini wrote to Charles Albert urging him to take the lead in efforts to secure Italian independence – the letter was also published in Marseilles. The Sardinian administration subsequently contacted that of France and Mazzini, as a result of this, was ordered (August 1831) to leave Marseilles.

He then based himself in Switzerland.

From his Swiss exile Mazzini encouraged revolutionary movements in Sardinia including an attempted army mutiny of 1833 (for which Mazzini was sentenced to death in absentia) and an attempted invasion of Savoy, (a Sardinian territory), of 1834.

Young Italy established branches in many Italian cities. Mazzini argued that through coordinated uprisings, the people could drive the Italian princes from their thrones and oust the Austrians from dominance of the Italian Peninsula.

In 1833 the Austrians declared membership of Young Italy to be high treason and punishable by death. In April 1834 a “Young Europe” association was formed “of men believing in a future of liberty, equality and fraternity for all mankind; and desirous of consecrating their thoughts and actions to the realization of that future.” The formation of “Young Switzerland” was followed by Mazzini being exiled again in late 1836 – he now relocated to London.

The high point of Mazzini’s career came during the revolutions that were widespread in Europe and the Italian Peninsula during 1848-49. As events continued to unfold Charles Albert of Sardinia-Piedmont placed himself in a form of broad alliance with Italian nationalism against Austria. Mazzini returned the Italian Peninsula where he joined the nationalistic forces of Giuseppe Garibaldi for a time.

Early in 1849 he was elected as a member of what proved to be a short-lived government in Tuscany following the departure of the Grand Duke and subsequently became one of the leaders of the new Roman Republic following the withdrawal of the Pope into exile at Gaeta.

Mazzini was elected as a member of a constituent assembly that was to assume the responsibility of framing a constitution for the Roman Republic. In late March Mazzini was appointed as one of the Triumverate who were invested with supreme powers in the Roman Republic.

On July 3rd 1849 the Roman Republic fell after offering a determined defence over several weeks against the besieging French army. And, a Constitution of the Roman Republic had been passed and proclaimed two days previously by the Roman Assembly although the Assembly knew that it had little chance of actually enduring into the future.

Over the ensuing years Italian nationalism and republicanism were somewhat exploited by Camillo di Cavour who was attempting to draw numerous and extensive territories in the Italian Peninsula into association with a liberal monarchy centred upon historic Sardinia-Piedmont. Cavour was serving as Prime Minister in Sardinia-Piedmont where he sponsored seemingly progressive policies. The Sardinian state, being possessed of an army, was open to being presented as a champion of Italian interests against Austria. Whilst middle class persons tended to be seduced by Cavour’s Realpolitik working class persons often drifted towards Socialism and Marxism. This drift towards Socialism being facilitated by Mazzini’s own flirtation with Socialism in these times.

Mazzini came back to Italy during the wars of 1859 and 1860 but took only limited satisfaction in seeing the establishment of a unified North Italian kingdom in 1861. Mazzini would have preferred nascent “Italia” to be constituted as a republic. Mazzini was elected to the Turin Italian parliament in 1865 but declined to take his seat because that would have involved an oath of allegiance to the monarchy.

Mazzini continued to plot to gain Venice (from Austrian control) and Rome (from Papal control) and was expelled from Switzerland in 1869 at the Italian government’s request following evidence of a conspiracy with Garibaldi. After a few months spent in England Mazzini sailed for Sicily but was arrested at sea as his ship approached the Italian coasts. Mazzini was thus in jail in Gaeta (August-October 1870) at the time when the Italian Kingdom of Victor Emmanuel II seized control of Rome.

Mazzini was in failing health and (ironically) the birth of a royal prince was used as an excuse for clemency. Mazzini retired to Pisa, where he died on March 10th, 1872. A public funeral was conducted in Pisa but Mazzini’s remains were thereafter conveyed to his home city of Genoa for burial.

In terms of his place in history – Mazzini is included with Cavour and Garibaldi as being one of the leading figures of the Italian Risorgimento or resurgence.

He freed Italy with 100 young Italians and he died breathing independence! The story of Mazzini is not a story of one fighter, but a story of one “Great Revolutionist.”!!

He Inspired entire India once!

The way The Great Freedom Fighter, Veer Sawarkar had narrated his story inspired ypoung Indians and they started to wait for their battle against british! The british government banned this book and started to search for every copies of it. People buried the copies in walls, temple and oh! Every young freedom fighter started to chant “Independence”!! They have by-hearted this book and worshipped the prologue like Bhagavadgeetha! The compared themselves to those 100 young Italians! And, then the movement happened! Young blood raged and the movement of Indian Independence once again flew high in the sky till 1947!!!


Sushmitha Saptharshi

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