A question related to freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak appearing in a written examination conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC), Jammu and Srinagar, for the posts of assistant controller in legal metrology department has snowballed into a political storm.
The question read thus: "Who among the following didn't represent the militant school of thought''? The answer choices were: RN Bose, Ashwani Kumar Dutt, MN Roy and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
The right answer would be RN Bose as he was a soft-liner, while the rest were political extremists. However, implying that Tilak was a militant has thrown the examining body in the eye of a storm.
Bhartiya Janta Party president Shamsher Singh called it a most condemnable and shameful act of the PSC. "There were two schools of political thought before independence. Lokmanya belonged to the aggressive one, as he wanted to free his country from the British Raj. Equating it with militant activity amounts to bringing bad name to the freedom movement," he said.
Echoing similar concerns, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party president Harsh Dev Singh said the PSC seemed to have lost its vision. "Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the pioneer of Indian freedom struggle. This act of the PSC is criminal and shameful," he said.
Moreover, the PSC's question was also against the Delhi high court judgment of January 30, 2008, wherein the court had directed the NCERT to remove nearly 75 objectionable passages from its books, including those that described Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai as militants.
The examination was conducted on December 9. Reportedly, a large number of students, who sat the examination, were affronted to see the name of Bal Gangadhar Tilak figuring among militants.