Savarkar flew out of Andaman jail on bulbul birds to visit motherland, says Karnataka school textbook

“There was not even a key hole in the cell where Savarkar was incarcerated. But, bulbul birds used to visit the room and Savarkar used to sit on their wings and fly out and visit the motherland every day”

August 26, 2022 09:42 pm | Updated September 03, 2022 04:25 pm IST - Bengaluru

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

While attempts by the BJP government in Karnataka to “glorify” Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar has been in the news, it has now come to light that a lesson on him has been inserted in the revised high school curriculum by the Rohith Chakrathirtha-headed textbook revision committee.

Earlier, insertion of a speech by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar had turned controversial.

It has come to light that the Class VIII, Kannada-2, textbook has added writer K.T. Gatti’s “Kalavannu Geddavaru” lesson instead of the lesson “Blood Group.” This lesson is a travelogue, where the author talks about the Andaman cellular jail, where Savarkar was incarcerated by the British.

Controversial paragraph

Objection has been raised on the ground that the lesson “glorified” Savarkar in a section of the lesson. Though there were no objections raised earlier, a few hours after the text went viral on social media on Friday, the Karnataka Textbook Society (KTBS) has received many oral complaints, said sources.

The author, in one paragraph says, “There was not even a key hole in the cell where Savarkar was incarcerated. But, bulbul birds used to visit the room and Savarkar used to sit on their wings and fly out and visit the motherland every day.”

Many teachers have objected to this paragraph. “If the writer has praised Savarkar metaphorically, there is no objection. But the lines are written as if it is a literal fact. It is very difficult to explain this to the students. In case the students ask questions and seek proof about this, how do we do it?” asked a teacher.

Minister justifies

Asked for a response on this, B.C. Nagesh, Minister, Department of School Education and Literacy, told The Hindu, “Savarkar is a great freedom fighter. No matter how glorified he is, it is not adequate for his sacrifice. What the writer has described in that lesson is accurate.”

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