THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 11 AUGUST, 2014
Batra Cartoon Copy
NEW DELHI: Dinanath Batra, little known foR a 30 years career as a school teacher and a life time spent with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, shot into fame recently with his singular success in getting a book by Wendy Doniger on Hinduism pulped earlier this year.
In fact his successes this year of scaring publishers with legal notices and getting books that he claimed were offensive to either Hinduism or the RSS, earned him international publicity as have his text books more recently. As a reward six of Batra’s text books were made compulsory reading by the Gujarat government even as well reputed historians like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib dismissed his contributions to ancient history as “fantasy” and as “hilarious but scary.”
TheTelegraph from London, has now followed up on the Batra story and his derogatory and racist references to those he describes as “negroes”. The newspaper writes: “In a series of books approved for schools in Gujarat earlier this year when Mr Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) was the state’s chief minister, ‘negroes’ and the British are compared to shoes, described as ‘undercooked rotis’ compared to Indians. In one excerpt a 'negro' is portrayed as a violent criminal to be thrashed and tied up like cattle.”
The newspaper further adds: “One of the books celebrates the beating of a “very strongly built negro” who tried to open a door during a flight.
“The pilot and the Indian together thrashed the negro and tied him up with rope. Like a tied buffalo, he frantically tried to escape but could not. The plane landed safely in Chicago. The negro was a serious criminal…and this brave Indian was an employee of Air India”, it explained.
Another book cites India’s late president Radhakrishnan telling a British man how his fellow countrymen were created by the Gods from uncooked rotis. “The second one (roti) stayed longer on the fire and the Negroes were born”. The Indians were made from the third when the Gods had mastered the method, it said.
Another tells the story of a Swami who was questioned because he wore Indian clothes but foreign shoes. “The place of the foreigner is here”, he explained.”
The London newspaper sees a link between this brand of racism and the increasing intolerance evident in the racist attacks on Africans living in India in the last year, referring to specific incidents in Goa and New Delhi.
Batra who is recognised as a scholar by the BJP has many other gems in his collection of books that are prescribed reading for schoolchildren in Gujarat. A couple of these to give readers a gist of the information and knowledge being imparted: “ Birthdays should be celebrated by shunning the western culture of blowing candles. Instead we should follow a purely Indian culture of wearing swadeshi clothes, doing a havan and praying to ishtadev, reciting mantras….”
Again students are asked if they know how to draw a map of India? “Do you know that countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma are part of undivided India? These countries are part of Akhand Bharat.” Batra has, however, denied having ever written this in an interview to IANS here maintaining that these were ‘canards’ being spread against him.
But the 85 year old has a new mission. And as he told IANS he is now working on a blueprint along with other like minded academics to Indianise education. “We have set up a commission Bharatiya Shiksha Niti Aayog which is preparing the blueprint for the Indianisation of the education system,”Batra said maintaining that this will be ready within three years.
He was clear when he told the IANS “whatever is there in the NCERT books is not good. If the students read these books they will go astray.” He was unhappy with the English poems and the Persian couplets in Hindi in these school books, all a “distortion of Hindi language.”