STUNNED by the description of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in a Class VIII reference book in Rajasthan — which said the social reformer and freedom fighter was called the “Father of Terrorism” — the Tilak family in Pune has taken up the matter with the Rajasthan government.
They have urged the Rajasthan government to ensure that the derogatory remark is removed and sought a ban on the book. The family of Lokmanya Tilak has also demanded action against those who published the book and approved its content.
“We are shocked and angry that anybody could make such a derogatory remark about the man who gave 50 years of his 64-year-long life to the nation…this is how they treat him… calling him names, like they have done in the book meant for schoolchildren in Rajasthan… this is beyond comprehension,” said Mukta Tilak, the Mayor of Pune and great-granddaughter-in-law of Tilak.
Tilak, a BJP leader, said not only has the freedom fighter been shown in poor light, but the “nation has been insulted”. “I have written a letter to the Rajasthan government and requested it to not only get the derogatory reference removed… but to ban the book itself. The government should ensure that the book does not remain in circulation anymore. It has insulted not just the memory of Tilak, but the entire nation,” she said.
The controversial part of the reference book, used by private English-medium schools affiliated to the Rajasthan
Board of Secondary Education, reads: “Bal Gangadhar Tilak demonstrated a path towards national movement, therefore, he is called as the father of terrorism.” While the mistake has been attributed to erroneous translation and was reportedly rectified in the revised edition of the book, the Tilak family said “colossal damage” has been done to the image and dignity of the freedom fighter.
“This seems to be part of the BJP regime’s agenda to change history at the state and national level… There can’t be anything more insulting than calling Tilak the father of terrorism,” said Ramesh Iyer, general secretary of Pune city Congress. The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has complained to Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over the issue.