A controversial Class 8 social studies reference book has raised eyebrows after a chapter in it described freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak as the "father of terrorism."
The book is published by a Mathura-based publisher, which is affiliated to Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE). The book is used by several private English-medium schools. "Tilak demonstrated a path towards national movement, therefore, he is called as the father of terrorism," a passage from page 267 of chapter 22 read, ANI reported.
However, the chapter titled "Incidents of National Movement during 18th and 19th century" also reads:
"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."
The officials from the Student Advisor Publication Private Limited, who are responsible for publishing the book, have claimed that they have corrected the passage in the revised edition last month. The publisher's office also added that the mistake happened during the translation process, Press Trust of India reported.
"Describing Tilak as the "father of terrorism" is highly condemnable. Before writing or making such controversial changes in texts, one should consult with the historians first," Kailash Sharma, the Private School Association director was quoted as saying by ANI.
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction over the text in the class 8 book. He uploaded a photo of the controversial text and took potshots at the BJP by saying "so much for a self-proclaiming "nationalist" BJP government."
"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," Pilot was quoted as saying by DNA.