Textbook rewriting: Rajasthan clips Veer out of Savarkar

Veer Savarkar
Veer Savarkar

In a bid to “de-saffronise” education in the state, the Congress government in Rajasthan is rewriting school textbooks. An example of major changes made can be traced to a chapter on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as “Veer Savarkar”, in the Social Science text book for Class X, to be introduced in the next academic year.

A leaked specimen copy shows no prefix “Veer” mentioned along “Savarkar” in his biography. Also the RSS ideologue is described as a conspirator, who plotted the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and begged the British for mercy and apologised thrice to get his jail term reduced when he was lodged in Andaman prison in the revised text.

“Troubled by the afflictions in jail, Savarkar sent mercy petitions to the British government. For the first time, the mercy petitions were sent on August 30, 1910 and the other was sent on November 14, 1911, in which Savarkar mentions himself as son of Portugal,” the new version said.

The chapter on Veer Savarkar was added in 2017, when the BJP was in power. The Congress government, which assumed office six months ago, has set up a new textbook committee in march this year to review syllabus for government schools.

Education minister Govind Dotasara accused the previous government of forcing RSS ideology on education and glorifying people who “had no contributions in the independence struggle”. He said  the “distortions” would be removed by the new government.

Fact: Savarkar was, in fact, arrested after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but acquitted by the court later.

The Wikipedia page describes him as “an Indian independence activist, politician, lawyer, writer, and the formulator of the Hindutva philosophy.”

“As a response to the right wing Muslim league, Savarkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha and popularized the term Hindutva (Hinduness), previously coined by Chandranath Basu, to create a collective ‘Hindu’ identity as an essence of Bharat” it says.

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