In a shocking incident, a reference book for Class 8 Social Studies in Rajasthan described freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak as the ‘father of terrorism’. In what could be called as the poor choice of words, school kids in Rajasthan were taught, “Tilak demonstrated a path towards national movement, therefore, he is called as the father of terrorism,” as per what page 267 of chapter 22 of the book read. The book by a Mathura-based publisher is being used by private English-medium schools affiliated to the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE).
The description of the freedom fighter comes as a part of sub-topic “Incidents of National Movement during 18th and 19th century” in the book. The book further read, “Tilak clearly believed that we cannot achieve anything just by pleading the British officers. Through Shivaji and Ganpati festivals, Tilak aroused unique awareness in the country. He instilled the mantra of freedom among the masses, due to which he became a thorn in the eyes of the British.”
However reacting to the blunder, Private School Association Director Kailash Sharma said that describing Tilak as the “father of terrorism” is highly condemnable. He further said, before writing or making such controversial changes in texts, one should consult with the historians first.
While Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot termed the content of the book as an ‘insult’ to the nation and demanded the government to immediately remove the chapter along with banning the book. DNA quoted Pilot as saying that it is very unfortunate that syllabus in school books is being misrepresented damaging the image of freedom fighters. “The same BJP government earlier tried to delete chapter on first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru from school books and then retracted when Congress opposed it aggressively,” he said.