Portraits of Hindutva leader VD Savarkar and RSS ideologues Hedgewar will be removed from Rajasthan schools. (Photo Credit: File)
In a move that is likely to trigger controversy, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan has asked government schools in the state to remove the portraits of Hindutva leader VD Savarkar and RSS ideologues Hedgewar, Deendayal Upadhyay and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. In a diktat, the state government has also warned of action against schools not following the directions.
"There is no use of putting portraits of Hedgewar, Savarkar and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. Their pictures have no relation to the classrooms of students," Rajasthan Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasra said.
The move irked the BJP and former Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani accused the state government of insulting the "great personalities" in order to please one family. Devnani said that the move exposed the Congress government’s distorted thinking.
"There is no agenda of development of education in the Congress government in the state. From chief minister to education minister, everyone is insulting nationalism and eminent personalities just to please their high command," he said.
Last year, the Gehlot regime had changed the decisions of the erstwhile BJP government and made several changes in school texbooks and removed 'Veer' prefix from Savarkar’s name. Instead, the Hindutva leader was referred as 'Vinayak Damodar Savarkar' – his full name.
In the revised version of the Rajasthan textbook, Savarkar was described as troubled by the torture inflicted on him in the Cellular Jail by the British. The textbook mentions that he called himself a 'son of Portugal' in his second of the four mercy petitions he sent to the British on November 14, 1911.
The textbook, according to a report in The Indian Express, says: "Savarkar opposed the Quit India movement in 1942 and the creation of Pakistan in 1946. After the murder of Gandhi on January 30, 1948, he was tried on charges of conspiring for murder and aiding Godse, but he was acquitted from the case."