Reconsider use of book calling Bhagat Singh a revolutionary terrorist: HRD writes to Delhi University

The letter came a day after HRD Minister Smriti Irani assured that she would convey her “angst” to the university. T

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: April 28, 2016 6:16 am
Bhagat Singh, Revolutionary terrorist, Smriti Irani, HRD on Bhagat singh book, education, Bhagat singh in books, Bhagat singh revolutionary terrorist, BJP, Delhi University, Du book, Bhagat singh in DU book, Indian struggle for independence, India news The book in question is ‘India’s Struggle for Independence (1757-1858)’ authored by historians Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, K N Panikkar and Sucheta Majahan, which was first published in 1988.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry wrote to Delhi University vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi on Wednesday urging him to “reconsider” the use of the history book that refers to Bhagat Singh as a “revolutionary terrorist”. Ministry officials maintained that the government’s letter was “advisory” in nature and not a directive as all central universities have complete autonomy in taking academic decisions.

The book in question is ‘India’s Struggle for Independence (1757-1858)’ authored by historians Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, K N Panikkar and Sucheta Majahan, which was first published in 1988.

The letter came a day after HRD Minister Smriti Irani assured that she would convey her “angst” to the university. The ABVP along with a relative of Bhagat Singh also met Tyagi on Wednesday demanding that the book be banned from the curriculum.

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“This book is being taught to MA students for a long time. We recently got to know that the book describes freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and Surya Sen as terrorists. We met DU officials today and asked that the book be banned. We also plan to meet the authors of the book in the coming days,” said DU Students’ Union (DUSU) president Satender Awana.

One of Bhagat Singh’s relatives who met the DU VC told reporters, “The Britishers, who hanged Bhagat Singh, described him as a ‘true revolutionary’. Even they didn’t use words like terror or terrorism. Using such words for revolutionaries in an attempt to stir controversy is very unfortunate.”

Historian D N Jha, who was the head of department of DU in 1988 when the book was first introduced in the syllabus said the book was of “seminal importance”. “When the book was written, the use of the word “terrorist” meant somebody different from a “moderate”; someone who did not believe in ahimsa (non-violence),” he said.

In a joint statement, authors Aditya Mukherjee, Mridula Mukherjee and Sucheta Mahajan said, “Bipan Chandra.clearly said that it is a term we use without any pejorative meaning and for want of a different term.” In his later writings, Bipan Chandra stopped using the term as it has acquired a very negative meaning recently.”

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  1. R
    Rajesh
    Apr 28, 2016 at 4:17 am
    This is back door method of so called seculars to demonize our freedom fighters who do not belong to Nehru-hi family. Britishers used to respect Bhagat Singh and Sen, but these traitors only want to names India's Road/Schools/Schemes etc by Nehru and hi's name. Shame on Congress and rest secular. We respect Bhagat singh and ll respect till last breath.
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      ashoks
      Apr 28, 2016 at 1:58 am
      In 1988 the meaning of terror is different fro 2016.Why Cant we admit our mistake and correct it insead of giving excuses such as book was of “seminal importance”.the word “terrorist” meant somebody different from a “moderate”; someone who did not believe in ahimsa (non-violence),
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        Prasanna Khakre
        Apr 28, 2016 at 4:25 am
        If the writer doesn't want to indicate the freedom fighters in pejorative, then they have the memory and ability to use other words than "Terrorist". But they didn't given a shake to their mentality and memory to use another word in place of "Terrorist". This word "Terrorist" for freedom fighters who did not believe in hi/Nehrus non-violence, definitely came from ideology and mentality of the authors who are biased towards the hi/Nehru clan and especially the writers of the modern history being taught to Indian students.
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          prashanth
          Apr 28, 2016 at 5:40 am
          These historians in order to place hi and Nehru as the people to who won India her Independence, have demonised every other freedom fighter from Netaji to Bhagat Singh. They want the primacy of hi-Nehru family. Our historians are the most corrput people (morally) on this planet.
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