Savarkar or Iqbal: Support grows for DU’s syllabus changes

Retired government officials support DU’s inclusion of Savarkar’s contribution and dropping Iqbal’s philosophy from syllabus

| Updated: 07 June, 2023 11:16 pm IST
The signatories to the statement said that Veer Savarkar left an important and indelible mark on India’s history

NEW DELHI: As many as 123 retired government officials came out on Wednesday, in support of the decision of the Academic Council of Delhi University on the inclusion of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s contribution and philosophy.

The officials included 59 retired bureaucrats, 12 ambassadors and 64 retired armed forces officers who also supported the Academic Council’s decision to drop Iqbal’s philosophy from the political science syllabus.

Last month, Delhi University added a section on Indian revolutionary Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar, for the fifth semester in the syllabi change implemented in Bachelor of Arts (BA) political science.

The decision met with strong resistance and divided opinions along ideological lines. A section of academicians also points fingers at the university for bowing to the ideology of the current central government.

123 retired government officials wrote in support of Delhi University’s decision

 

Coming out in support of Delhi University, the retired officials pointed out the alleged ‘biased presentation of facts and distorted interpretation that has adversely impacted the teaching of History and Political Science’, “History, as written in texts and taught in any country, should truthfully reveal the facts and be interpreted impartially and without any bias. Unfortunately, in India since Independence, this has not been the case.”

Blaming the Congress and left-leaning organisations, they wrote, “This was driven by the Congress and some left-leaning organisations for political reasons. A grave injustice was done to many historical personalities who laid down their lives for this country to help India break free from the clutches of British imperialism.”

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“As a result, there have been vociferous demands for the rewriting of texts, keeping in mind the need for a fair narration of the history of India’s national movement. We welcome the corrective measures and action being taken in some quarters, including by Delhi University’s Academic Council,” they wrote.

Citing the example of Savarkar and poet Mohammad Iqbal, they wrote, “As an example, reference is made to two personalities here – Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and poet Mohammad Iqbal. It is particularly unfortunate that till the current inclusion of Savarkar’s contribution and philosophy in the Delhi University syllabus, universities under Congress-Leftist influence intentionally suppressed his contribution and ideas for our great Motherland.”

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“We are also of the firm opinion that historical figures that have been divisive and supported the division of Bharat need a ruthless critique in order to evaluate how Iqbal and his political views influenced the shaping of the future Indian subcontinent,” they said.

Terming Veer Savarkar, a distinguished freedom fighter, poet and political philosopher, who left an important and indelible mark on India’s history, wrote, “As a freedom fighter, he was put behind bars in ‘Kala Pani’ i.e. a British prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, for about a decade, out of which he was put in solitary confinement for six months.”

“He is called ‘The Father of Hindutva’ for his enunciation of Hindutva ideology in his remarkable piece of literature, Hindutva: Who is a Hindu. He propagated Hindutva as a geopolitical concept, unifying diverse communities under a shared cultural and civilizational identity. Savarkar’s other book, The History of the War of Indian Independence, was a great success but banned by the British colonialists,” they wrote.

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Explaining Savarkar’s vision of Akhand Bharat, they wrote, “Simultaneously, he championed Dalit rights, working ardently towards caste eradication and promoting social equality. His vision of India as one nation was central to Savarkar’s ideology – Akhand Bharat.”

Talking about why it is important to study Savarkar’s views, the retired government officials wrote, “Savarkar’s views on freedom, social reform, and national unity make him an enduring figure in Indian history. By studying Savarkar’s political ideologies, students will gain insight into the factors that shaped India’s nationalist movement and its subsequent trajectory.”

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Blaming poet Iqbal for sowing the seeds of secession in the country, the retired officials wrote, “It is also necessary for the students to understand the impact of divisive historical figures and their contribution to partition. One such person was the well-known poet Mohammad Iqbal. He sowed the seeds of secession in the country. As President of the then Punjab Muslim League, he championed the cause of a separate Muslim nation and went on to talk about Islamic Khilafat and recommended Islamic Ummah.”

“Iqbal became radicalized and as the President of the Muslim League, his ideas ran counter to democracy and Indian secularism. Many of Iqbal’s writings have been associated with the idea of a separate Muslim nation, ultimately leading to the tragedy of India’s partition. This concept of the Two-Nation Theory played a significant role in the partition of India, resulting in the trauma and suffering of millions of displaced people in India’s East and West,” they wrote.

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“Therefore, dropping him from the list of ‘Modern Indian Political Thought’ is a correct step by the Academic Council of the University of Delhi. We wholeheartedly welcome the inclusion of Savarkar’s contribution and philosophy in the national movement and the making of the Indian nation into the Delhi University syllabus,” they added.

“We fully endorse the decision of the Academic Council of Delhi University. We support all such efforts in the right direction. We urge all right-minded patriots to support this cause,” they added.

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