Savarkar text row: Cong hits out at BJP as party defends prose

Published on Aug 30, 2022 12:24 AM IST

Defending the text, the Bharatiya Janata Party -led state government has stated that the lines are “not meant to be taken literally”, however, slamming the same, Congress accused the party of trying to “change” history.

The lesson, “Kalavannu Geddavaru” is a travelogue written by author K T Gatti, narrating his experience about a visit to the Andaman cellular jail, where the Hindutva leader was imprisoned, news agency PTI reported. (PTI)
The lesson, “Kalavannu Geddavaru” is a travelogue written by author K T Gatti, narrating his experience about a visit to the Andaman cellular jail, where the Hindutva leader was imprisoned, news agency PTI reported. (PTI)
ByHT Correspondent I Edited by Shilpa Ambardar, Bengaluru

After Karnataka government drew flak over a claim in a Kannada school textbook that Hindutva idealogue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar would fly out of prison on the wings of a bird, a political slugfest has erupted over the issue.

The paragraph in question reads: “There was not even a keyhole in the room where Savarkar was imprisoned. But bulbul from somewhere would visit the room on whose wings Savarkar would sit and fly out and visit the motherland everyday.”

The lesson, “Kalavannu Geddavaru” is a travelogue written by author K T Gatti, narrating his experience about a visit to the Andaman cellular jail, where the Hindutva leader was imprisoned, news agency PTI reported.

While defending the text, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government has stated that the lines are “not meant to be taken literally”, however, slamming the same, Congress accused the party of trying to “change” history.

Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar on Monday even termed the new National Education Policy (NEP) brought in by the Centre as the “Nagpur Educational Policy” and said his party would scrap it if voted to power.

Reacting to the controversy, BJP national general secretary and legislator from Chikmagalur, CT Ravi said, “The lines on Savarkar cannot be taken literally... (These lines only) explain how he travelled through his feelings when he was serving as a political prisoner in one of the most feared jails under colonial rule.”

“There is something called psychology. I am here and in a second I can go to my village (psychologically) and in another second go to Delhi and in another, I can go to a place which I have never seen. That is psychology. A person who was in jail as a political prisoner, when he could not go out ... through his emotions, to maintain a relationship with the country, through the bulbul bird, he travelled. This is related to psychology and has been described as the same in the textbook and taught to children,” Ravi said.

Shivakumar, however, said that he would scrap the changes made to the textbook when the party comes to power after May 15 next year.

“Let them (BJP) keep it in their houses and make him (Savarkar) a god...after 75 years of Independence who wrote an apology letter to the British. Even in the text (books) they are trying to bring the Nagpur Education Policy not the National Education Policy. But (our) time will come. At that time, all the textbooks, whatever they are printing and distributing, will be scrapped in 2023 after May 15,”Shivakumar said.

Meanwhile, CT Ravi also took a dig at India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru saying he was given more leniency in prison. Ravi said that he (Savarkar) was not even given a pen and paper to write any ‘Discovery of India’ (a book written by Nehru during his incarceration).

“Had he (Savarkar) also been as cordial with the British, he would have also had the fortune of putting his arms around Lord Mountbatten’s wife,” Ravi said.

The Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP was previously also criticised for text book revision that had changed chapters on several prominent historical personalities.

“The misinformation & distortion of historical facts that is playing out in the regional channels in Karnataka to make #Savarkar looks like a hero is absolutely absurd. Anything for TRPs?,” Priyank Kharge, former chief minister and head of communications for the Congress said while commenting on the issue.

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