DU book calling Bhagat Singh “revolutionary terrorist” irks kin

The book has been used to teach first-year BA students since the 1990s

April 28, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:35 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A book on the Independence movement that calls Bhagat Singh a “revolutionary terrorist” has irked the freedom fighter’s family members, who have fired off a letter to the Union Human Resource Development Ministry.

The book has been part of the curriculum at Delhi University for over 25 years now. India’s Struggle for Independence , authored by noted historian Bipan Chandra and Mridula Mukherjee, mentions Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Surya Sen and others as “revolutionary terrorists”.

It has been used to teach first-year BA students since the 1990s. The Bhagat Singh’s kin also approached DU in this regard. However, the University authorities maintained that it is just a “reference” book in the History Department.

The family met DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi on Wednesday and are also planning to approach the Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani.

India’s Struggle for Independence is not a textbook for DU students. It is a reference book in the History Department. However, we understand the concerns of Bhagat Singh’s family. Some people from his family met me and their concerns are being looked into,” said Mr. Tyagi.

“We have a huge problem with the word ‘terrorist’ being associated with revolutionary leaders like Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad and Surya Sen. The struggle for Independence has taken place in other countries as well, but there, the people who fight for their country are called patriots,” Bhagat Singh’s grandnephew Yadvinder Sandhu told The Hindu .

Pointing out that there could be more publications in other universities and libraries where revolutionary leaders have been wrongly labelled as “”terrorists”, Bhagat Singh’s family now wants the Union Human Resource Development Ministry to form a committee to look into the issue and get the publications corrected.

“I want to ask the historians who have written this book — if Bhagat Singh and his friends avenged Lala Lajpat Rai’s death from the British, was it a terrorist’s act? Was it something personal or did they avenge his death on behalf of the entire nation?” Mr. Sandhu added.

The book also calls the Chittagong movement a “terrorist act” and Saunders’ killing as an “act of terrorism”.

DU authorities maintained that it is just a “reference” book in the History Department

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