Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot on Friday said a chapter in a school textbook in the state that calls freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak the “father of terrorism” was an insult to the nation, DNA reported.
He asked the state government to immediately remove the chapter and ban the book. “It is very unfortunate that syllabus in school books is being misrepresented damaging the image of freedom fighters,” Pilot said. “The same BJP government earlier tried to delete chapter on first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru from school books and then retracted when Congress opposed it aggressively.”
The book, which was brought out by a Mathura-based publisher, says on page 267: “Tilak demonstrated a path towards national movement, therefore, he is called as the father of terrorism.”
Historians criticised the mischaracterisation of the freedom fighter. “Tilak is one of the greatest soldiers of Indian freedom struggle who awakened Indian masses, especially in Maharashtra, to fight against tyrannical British rule,” NK Upadhyay, retired professor of history at Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University in Ajmer, told Hindustan Times.
Historian Pramila Poonia concurred. “The British called him ‘father of Indian unrest’, but for us Indians, he was a great nationalist,” she said. “He was the one who first pushed the ideas of boycott of English goods and use of swadeshi goods.”
Dr RS Khangarot, who teaches history in Jaipur’s Agrawal PG College told NDTV that such a mistake was unacceptable even if it was an error in translation. BL Gupta, who used to teach history in Rajasthan University, said British author Ignatius Valentine Chirol had described Tilak as “the father of Indian unrest”. “It is derogatory to call Tilak the father of terrorism,” Gupta added.