Controversial books authored by right-leaning author Dina Nath Batra were distributed to students at a science fair in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, by the district education department, not long after a similar move by Gujarat government officials created a storm.
A set of four books — ‘Prerna-Deep’ — written by Batra were given to several students at the Ujjain event. Some of the stories in Prerna Deep such as ‘Videshi Ka Sthan (The place of a foreigner) and ‘Sahasi Gurudev Singh (Brave Gurudev Singh)' had raked up controversies.
“In all 2,000 copies of four parts of Prerna Deep were purchased by the district education officer through Bharat Vyas for distribution to the students who participated in the fair. It is good that such kind of motivational stories are being spread to students,” Batra , 85, told HT.
“My books talk about Indian culture. If any other state or educational organisation approaches me, I will be more than willing to give my assent,” he had told HT earlier after the introduction of his books in Gujarat schools.
Historians earlier slammed former schoolteacher and activist Batra’s books which were recommended as secondary reading in Gujarat schools, saying they were nothing but works of “fantasy”.
The 85-year-old Batra’s books, seeking to Indianise education, were often factually incorrect, they said. “I had seen the books at a programme and I found them very inspiring for the students,” Bharat Vyas, who was the convener of the search committee for books to be distributed, said on Thursday.
Vyas added he was not aware of the controversies associated with Batra’s books.
District education officer Rama Nahate reiterated that she was not aware of any kind of controversies associated with Batra’s books.
“The books came on Wednesday and were distributed after that. The 28 kids who were awarded were given 6 books, including a book on science and computer. The rest were given the set of four books.”
Lakhan, a Class 12 student who participated in the fair, said, “I have already read some stories. They look good and I will take them to school.”