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news details
Rajasthan govt to remove Jauhar, include Veer Savarkar's apology in textbooks
5/15/2019 6:16:24 PM

Rajasthan , May 15

With a change of government in Rajasthan invariably comes along a review in the content of textbooks of the state's school board. Recently, the Congress government constituted a textbook revision committee in the school education department after coming to power in Rajasthan.

Based on the committee's findings, the department revised a short biography of RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar introduced by previous BJP government.

The committee has removed the prefix 'Veer' from Savakar's name in Class X social science textbooks and it now refers to him as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who "plotted assassination" of Mahatma Gandhi, who was killed by Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948, less than a year after India gained independence from Britain.

The committee has included a point stating that before independence Savarkar, who was arrested in 1910 for alleged revolutionary activities, had "apologised" to the British Raj to reduce his 50-year jail term and secure clemency. He was freed in 1921 on the condition that he renounce revolutionary activities.

"This is a usual process for revision committee to review textbooks," Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said but seemed not very keen to generate controversy over it at this time.

However, state's Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara has racked up one already by deciding to accept committee's recommendations that delete a lot of BJP era's inclusions. The education board will incorporate changes from the next session.

The foremost change has been to remove the picture of a Jauhar, which Dotasara said encourages self-immolation. This removal of Jauhar and equating it with Sati, which is illegal, has annoyed Rajputs for whom Jauhar is different from Sati and was an honorable way to protect oneself from falling in the hands of enemies following a defeat in the war.

Padmani has been a well-known example of Jauhar against Alauddin Khilji, and an attempt to 'distort her image' in the movie Padmavat met with strong protests from Rajputs. It was the Rajput anger against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government which added to the party's defeat in assembly elections.

Diya Kumari, erstwhile princess of Jaipur royalty, has criticised Dotasara of showing disrespect to legends. Dotasara said he will also get a text on Maharana Pratap rewritten and that Pratap indeed was great, but his experts would present facts in the right manner.

"BJP made it look like a communal battle ignoring the role of Pratap's general Hakim Khan Suri too. Our text will inspire students from Pratap's life story," he said.

But the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and hardliners within the BJP have been taken aback with Dotasara deciding to include Veer Savarkar's letter to the British seeking waiver of rigorous imprisonment. The Gehlot government may also do away with a chapter on demonetisation.

The review committee has yet to decide on how much space Jawahar Lal Nehru will get in Congress-written textbooks because the BJP government had reduced too much of the Nehru saga.
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