New Delhi: The right-wing Hindutva outfit Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) has demanded the immediate withdrawal of a Class XI textbook, which it alleges depicts Chhatrapati Shivaji in poor light.
The Hindutva outfit, which, as per its website, was founded with the aim of establishing a Hindu rashtra, has said that the content on Chhatrapati Shivaji published in the textbook by the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (GBSHSE) was “totally false”.
According to IANS, the class XI World History textbook claims that when Maratha king Shivaji attacked Goa in the late 1600s, his forces not only plundered the countryside, but also killed prisoners, including men, women and children as well as Catholic priests. Another section in the book describes Shivaji’s son, Sambhaji, as a plunderer, who ravaged the Goan countryside.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, HJS convener Manoj Solanki said, “A supplement added to the textbook- ‘History of Goa’- says that Chhatrapati Shivaji attacked Bardesh tehsil in Goa for three consecutive days, looted villages, burnt them and killed some children and women.”
“All this is totally false. It is an attempt to tarnish the image of great Chhatrapati Shivrai, who even honoured the women belonging to the enemy camps,” he said.
“No Hindu will tolerate such distorted history of the great kings of our motherland. The Goa government should immediately withdraw this history textbook or else all Shivpremis (followers of Shivaji Maharaj) will come out on the streets to protest against it,” Solanki said and added that serious action should be taken against the author of the text as well as the authorities who included it in the syllabus.
While a top official at the GBSHSE said that if there was anything objectionable in the book, it could be deleted, GBSHSE chairman Ramakrishna Samant said that he was yet to receive a memorandum from the organisation.
“I have come to know that the HJS has submitted a memorandum to the Director of Education. I will have to go through the content of the memorandum,” Samant said.
“If there is anything objectionable in the book, it could be deleted. But I can comment on it only after going through what they have to say,” he said.
Chief minister hints at deletion of section
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant has since hinted that the contentious sections in the book will be deleted from next academic year’s textbooks
“I, as Education Minister, can assure you that when the new term starts next years, efforts will be made to ensure that Shivaji”s ideals and a proper version of history would be taught to students,” Sawant said.
Sawant had also previously said that Goa would not have suffered atrocities under colonial rulers if Shivaji had conquered Goa and established his rule over major parts of the region.
At a state-level function held to celebrate Shivaji’s birth anniversary at Ponda, Sawant said that while it was not possible to have a Shivaji-like reign, his government would do its best to “emulate his values and perform better”.
The right-wing Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has, on several occasions, demanded that India be declared a Hindu nation and has held that the word secular in the constitution was added “unconstitutionally.”
In 2016, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti was one of several Hindu outfits that had demanded the immediate removal of a picture in the Balbharti textbook for Class IV that allegedly depicted Chhatrapati Shivaji ‘embracing’ Afzal Khan.
On other occasions, the Hindutva outfit had demanded a ban on a book containing derogatory remarks about V.D. Savarkar and action against the book’s author and publisher. The group has also appealed to the youth to celebrate February 14 as “parents’ day”, instead of Valentine’s Day and demanded that the state government cancel the Sunburn festival organised in Goa.
Members of the group, or its parent outfit Sanatan Sanstha, are also accused in the killings of rationalists and activists such as Narendra Dabholkar, Gauri Lankesh, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi.
(With inputs from PTI)