DU Stops Sale, Distribution of Book Referring to Bhagat Singh as Terrorist

New Delhi
DU Stops Sale, Distribution of Book Referring to Bhagat Singh as Terrorist

Following controversy over a book, part of DU's history curriculum, which refers to Bhagat Singh as a "revolutionary terrorist", the university today decided to stop the sale and distribution of its Hindi translation.

The book titled "India's Struggle for Independence", which has been part of DU's curriculum for over two decades mentions Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Surya Sen and others as "revolutionary terrorists" in Chapter 20. It also calls the Chittagong movement a "terrorist act", while killing of British police officer John Sanders has been called an "act of terrorism".

It's Hindi version "Bharat ka swantrata sangharsh" was published by DU's Directorate of Hindi Medium Implementation in 1990.

"The sale and distribution of the book 'Bharat ka swantrata sangharsh' authored by Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan and KN Panikkar and published by DU has been stopped," university spokesperson Malay Neerav said.

The decision came after the freedom fighter's family had objected to the usage of word and had written a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani demanding appropriate changes in the book. His kin had also met DU Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi regarding the issue.

Irani who had termed the text of the book to be an "academic murder of sacrifices of individuals", had directed the HRD officials to ask the university to "reconsider" it.

"We wrote to DU two days ago stating that connotation, use of word terrorist is not a mark of respect. We have also implored, since DU is an autonomous institution, to reconsider the use of this word," Irani told reporters.

The university authorities maintained that they had no control over sale and distribution of the English version of the book as it was not published by DU. They also asserted that the book was a "reference book" and not a "text book".

The book's publisher Penguin had yesterday issued a statement saying it was working with the authors for a revised edition of the book.

"Language has evolved since the book was first published (1988) and we are already working with the co-authors to update and revise the phraseology to reflect both modern usage and the hugely important role Bhagat Singh played in the creation of modern India," the publisher had said.

Earlier in the day, Yadvinder Singh, the grandson of Bhagat Singh also met Irani and submitted a memorandum on the issue.

Speaking to PTI, Singh said that in the memorandum they have demanded that the government examine other books which are funded by public money in which inappropriate references are made against freedom fighters who have sacrificed their lives for the people.

"There may be books which are being taught at other Universities or schools. We have urged the minister to take suitable action in this regard," he said.

Singh suggested that a committee could be formed to look at such books.

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