Former Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani on Monday, May 27 flayed the state Congress government for affixing "son of Portugal" to RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar's description in class 10 social science textbooks.
Recently, the Congress government constituted a textbook revision committee in the school education department. Based on the committee's findings, the department revised a short biography of RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar introduced by the previous BJP government.
Now, in the textbooks, it is mentioned Savarkar had described himself as "son of Portugal" when seeking clemency from the British government in 1910-11.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Devnani said the state government should take inspiration from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had described Savarkar as the "byword for daring and patriotism."
The former prime minister had called Savarkar "a classical revolutionary and countless people drew inspiration from him", Devnani said.
"Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi recognised and hailed the legacy of great freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. The then government had issued a commemorative stamp on Veer Savarkar in 1970.
"Indira Gandhi had donated a sum of Rs 11,000 from her personal account to Savarkar Trust and ordered the Films Division to produce a documentary on his life," Devnani tweeted.
The former state minister said calling the freedom fighter "son of Portugal" is an insult.
He alleged the Congress government had the single-point agenda of insulting heroic characters and eulogising only one family.
In response, Rajasthan Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara said the changes were made by the experts committee.
"What can I say? A committee of experts have written it based on authenticity and their recommendations. I can only say that whatever has been written in the textbooks have been written based on the recommendations of educationists," Dotasara told PTI.
In other changes, the committee removed the prefix 'Veer' from Savakar's name in the textbooks and it now refers to him as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who "plotted assassination" of Mahatma Gandhi, who was killed by Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948, less than a year after India gained independence from Britain.
The revision of textbooks not only drew flak from the Opposition but also from a couple of leaders in the ruling Congress.
The panel had recommended the removal of a picture suggesting self-immolation under Sati or Jauhar from a Class 8 English textbook. It was replaced with that of a hill fort.
"We need to understand the practice of Jauhar. Without understanding the sensitive issue, any leader, be it from the Congress or the BJP, should refrain from making a statement," said state Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas.