A book which has been part of Delhi University’s history curriculum and refers to Bhagat Singh a “revolutionary terrorist”, became a centre of controversy with freedom fighter’s kin objecting to it and prompting HRD ministry to ask DU to reconsider the same.
The book titled “India’s Struggle for Independence” has been part of DU’s curriculum for over two decades. Authored by noted historian Bipin Chandra and Mridula Mukherjee, the book mentions Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Surya Sen and others as “revolutionary terrorists” in Chapter 20.
The book also calls the Chittagong movement a ‘terrorist act’, while killing of British police officer John Sanders has been called an ‘act of terrorism’.
Bhagat Singh’s family had written a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani seeking her intervention in this regard and demanded appropriate changes in the textbook.
While the officials in the university confirmed that the ministry has asked DU to reconsider teaching of the particular chapter or book, they maintained that it is a “reference book” and not a “text book”.
Terming the text of the book to be an “academic murder of sacrifices of individuals”, Irani had yesterday assured that she will convey her angst to the university.
“I would not call it an academic anomaly but an academic murder of the sacrifices of many individuals. If I am to be called intolerant to ensure that Bhagat Singh ji is not called a terrorist, then that is tag I will proudly wear,” she had told Times Now.
The family members also met DU Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi who assured them of looking into the matter. “This is a very sad precedent that even after 68 years of Independence such words are used for the revolutionaries, who gave their lives for the freedom of the nation.
“The Britishers, who hanged Bhagat Singh, described him as ‘true revolutionary’ in their judgement, even they didn’t use words like terror or terrorism. Using such words for revolutionaries in an attempt to stir controversy is very unfortunate” the freedom fighter’s nephew Abhey Singh Sandhu told reporters.
DU Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi said they have taken note of the request.
“The book is taught as a reference book in our history department but is not a text book published or authored by DU professor,” he told PTI.