History book controversy rocks Delhi assembly

March 26th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) A controversy over a Delhi University graduation course book containing allegedly objectionable remarks on Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman rocked the Delhi assembly Tuesday. The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators, led by Leader of Opposition Jagdish Mukhi, raised the issue in the house and sought Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s intervention in the matter.

As these legislators started shouting slogans, disrupting the house proceedings, Speaker Chowdhury Prem Singh adjourned the house for some time.

“There is a systematic and deliberate attempt to malign Hindu gods and goddesses. The BJP will continue to raise the issue till the objectionable portions are removed from the book on ancient Indian history,” Mukhi told reporters later.

Dikshit, however, accused the BJP for raking up communal issues.

“The issue they raised in the house does not come under the government’s purview. Still, I will look into the matter, and will do the needful. The BJP is known for raking up communal issues,” Dikshit told reporters outside the assembly.

The textbook includes an essay by the late poet and literary critic A.K. Ramanujan titled “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation”, and is part of the university’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) programme as a recommended reading for history.

The BJP has alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s daughter Upinder Singh, who teaches at the university’s history department, was among the teachers behind the compilation of essays for the book.

“The essay is part of the book compiled by Upinder Singh and others. It is an attempt to denigrate the Ramayana and create serious doubts about the existence of Ram, Sita and Laxman,” Mukhi said.

The university has already denied any role of Upinder Singh in compiling the essays.

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