‘Son of Portugal’ tag on Savarkar: BJP flays Cong.

Contests Class X textbook revision

Former Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani on Monday flayed the Congress government for affixing “son of Portugal” to RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s description in Class X 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 Savarkar introduced by the previous BJP government.

Now, in the textbooks it is mentioned that 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, Mr. 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.”

‘Source of inspiration’

The former Prime Minister had called Savarkar “a classical revolutionary and countless people drew inspiration from him,” Mr. 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,” he said.

“Indira Gandhi had donated a sum of ₹11,000 from her personal account to Savarkar Trust and ordered the Films Division to produce a documentary on his life,” he 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 heroes and eulogising only one family.

In response, Rajasthan Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara said the changes were made by the expert committee.

Panel of experts

“What can I say? A committee of experts has 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,” Mr. Dotasara said.

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.

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