What does a secular government do when it has to balance nationalism and secularism? The Maharashtra Education Board under the secular government of Shiv Sena CM Uddhav Thackeray simply replaces the name of Hutatma Sukhdev with that of Kurban (Qurban) Hussain.
Hutatmas of Bharat’s freedom struggle
It is a well-known fact that Hutatmas Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were accused of and convicted by the British government in the Saunders murder case, popularly known as the Lahore Conspiracy of 1930 and were hanged to death on the 23rd of March 1931 which is celebrated as Shaheed Diwas as a tribute to their sacrifice.
The three names have since become synonyms and are almost always taken together. Therefore, it was shocking that the Balbharti Marathi Book for standard 8 would replace Sukhdev with Kurban Hussain. The ‘typographical error’ is said to have taken place in a chapter titled “I love my country” (Majhya Deshawar Prem Ahe).
In the conversation between a teacher and his students on the topic of patriotism when one of the students is presented as saying “Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Kurban Hussain were hanged to death. They were real patriots”.
Brahman Mahasangh raises objection
Pointing out the unpardonable error, Anand Dave of the Brahman Mahasangh has raised a complaint stating that this is not just an insult of Hutatma Sukhdev but of all revolutionaries. The Sangh has also demanded that all textbooks be recalled immediately and an inquiry be conducted into the matter. They have also called for action against all those involved.
MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government’s reaction
While the NCP has called it a ‘typographical error’, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant has stated that it is a publishing mistake and the government will inquire into the matter. However, the Congress party has justified the exclusion of Sukhdev saying that this is not a history textbook.
We would like to inform the Congress party that history remains unchanged whether the textbook is one of history or not. Furthermore, such justifications are not tenable as the party has no right to change facts.
Clarification from the author
Balbharti Director has issued a clarification saying “the work of writer Yadunath Thete was printed ‘as is’ in the language textbook. The original statement occurs thus in Thete’s book which we have simply reproduced. The history book of standard eight mentions Sukhdev. However, Kurban Hussain was also a freedom fighter from Solapur who started a newspaper there. We are collecting information with regards to the context in which the sentence was used in the language textbook”.
Hutatma Sukhdev and Kurban Hussain
Abdul Rasool Kurban Hussain belonged to Solapur and ran a newspaper there. The journalist was hanged for participating in the freedom struggle on 12th January 1931 when he was 22 years old. Malappa Dhansheti, Jagannath Shinde, and Srikisan Sarda of Solapur were also hanged along with Hussain. Hence, 12th January is marked as ‘Solapurkar Hutatma Din’.
Sukhdev, on the other hand, was hanged in the Lahore Conspiracy Case whose title itself reads “Crown versus Sukhdev and others”. The British believed that it was Sukhdev who took the lead in organizing the murder of Saunders.
What a shame!
Not many would know but Sukhdev was the primary accused in the Lahore Conspiracy Case of 1930 whose title reads "Crown versus Sukhdev and others".
This is because Sukhdev was the Punjab chief of HSRA & main organizer behind Saunders murder.https://t.co/QhlhJKjKfO
— Fives? (@Kishkinda2) July 17, 2020
While the Congress had demanded the resignation of the then BJP CM Devendra Fadnavis for erroneously mentioning Sukhdev under the picture of Bhagat Singh in an event which he attended, both the Congress and NCP have tried to brush this off as a “typographical/printing error”.
The attempt to justify the ‘so-called error’ by stating that the book is not that of history but of language is even more ridiculous. All the justifications come across as attempts to sweep the matter under the carpet.
Instead of rectifying its mistake, the MVA government is simply attempting to justify the act. At a time when history has been tampered with since 1947, the ‘printing error’ explanation doesn’t pass muster considering that textbooks go through multiple proof-readings before being published.
It remains to be seen what comes out of the probe ordered into the matter by the MVA government.
(Featured Image Source: Loksatta)
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.