Rajasthan Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasra has said the Vasundhara Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party had glorified Hindutva ideologue “Veer” Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in school textbooks but a textbook review committee has suggested based on “strong evidences and facts” that Savarkar had applied to the British for clemency, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The committee has suggested changes that will be included in textbooks in the new academic session.
The minister said Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had played monumental roles in the freedom movement. He also acknowledged the role of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh in the nation’s development. “But it is not right to glorify Veer Savarkar and Deendayal Upadhyaya and describe them as great,” Dotasra added.
According to a specimen copy of a revised Class 10 social science textbook accessed by The Times of India, Savarkar is no longer described as a “brave revolutionary”. The book says that the Hindutva ideologue was a “conspirator who plotted the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi”. However, the chapter notes that Savarkar was cleared of the charges.
The book notes that Savarkar was harassed in prison in Andaman. As a result, he wrote four letters apologising to the British. “On May 2, 1921, he was granted mercy on condition he will stay away from politics.” The chapter narrates that Savarkar campaigned to make India a “Hindu Rashtra” and coined the slogan “Hinduise politics, militarise Hindudom”.
The education minister of the former BJP government, Vasudev Devnani, has called the move anti-Hindutva. “After Maharana Pratap, the Congress government has insulted great freedom fighter Veer Savarkar with its anti-Hindutva mentality,” he tweeted on Sunday. “A party idolising only one family has always shown such conduct about other great personalities.”