A reference book for Class VIII Social Studies in Rajasthan has courted controversy after it has been reported to have described freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak as the ‘father of terrorism’, as reported by ANI. This book which was printed by a Mathura based publisher is used in some private English medium schools affiliated with the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE).
The controversial statement is located in the 22nd chapter of the book on the page number 267:
As seen above, the contentious line reads that “Tilak demonstrated a path towards national movement, therefore, he is called as the father of terrorism“. The chapter in question dealt with the topic, “Incidents of National Movement during 18th and 19th century”.
As if almost oblivious by its mistake, the book in the same segment praises Tilak by stating that:
He clearly believed that ‘we cannot achieve anything just by pleading the British officers’. Through Shivaji and Ganpati festivals, Tilak aroused unique awareness in the country. He instilled the mantra of freedom among the masses, due to which he became a thorn in the eyes of British
Going by a Hindustan Times report, the said book might be read by quite a few students, considering no other such reference book is available in English owing to the Rajasthan board only issuing books in Hindi.
With regards to the mistake, historians said that the Britishers called Tilak as the ‘father of Indian Unrest’, but from the Indian point of view, they opined him as a great nationalist.
Following the controversy, a Times of India report quoted Manish Yadav who distributes the books published by the erring publisher named, ” Student Advisory Publication Private Limited”. As per Yadav, the mistake was a result of “poor translation”. He claimed that the error was only prevalent in the first edition of the book and that subsequent editions have been corrected in this regards. He though failed to state which word or phrase replaced “father of terrorism”.
Yadav was incidentally also quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that, he said the reference book was strictly as per the guidelines provided by the board.
As per a PTI report, the first edition was published last year and the correction was made in a revised edition released last month.
Despite the correction, the publication has earned the ire of professors who call it an unacceptable mistake even if it was committed due to an error in translation.