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Bharatiya Janata Party state president Gopinath Munde admitted in so many words on Wednesday that he had erred in demanding a ban on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s book Discovery of India on the ground that it contained references critical of Chhatrapati Shivaji
The Times of India
Thursday, March 25, 2004
MUMBAI: Bharatiya Janata Party state president Gopinath Munde admitted in so many words on Wednesday that he had erred in demanding a ban on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s book Discovery of India on the ground that it contained references critical of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
"I ama politician and not a scholar like Y D Phadke (who was the first to point out that the book said nothing against Shivaji). But there is no change in my party’s stand—it will not tolerate any insult to national heroes like Shivaji," he stated at a meet-thepress programme organised by the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh here.
He declined to comment when he was asked if he had in mind another book by Pandit Nehru, Glimpses of World History, which does contain adverse references to Shivaji.
Munde said Shivaji’s name ought not to be used by anyone for electoral gain. He called for an end to the acrimony over American author James Laine’s controversial book, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India. "There should be no controversy after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s assurance that the Centre will take action (against Laine) if the state government fails to do so," he said.
The Nationalist Congress Party had sought to capitalise on the issue of an earlier statement by Vajpayee that the book should not be banned. The PM later changed his stand and endorsed the state government’s ban on the book. Munde said the state home minister R R Patil had made it appear as if Vajpayee himself had written the controversial book. He said the Democratic Front government’s love for Shivaji was a sham.
"The DF government had approached the Centre for permission to develop the complex around Afzal Khan’s tomb near Mahabaleshwar. Khan wanted to kill Shivaji by treachery, but he was outfoxed. The same government is now crying itself hoarse over the insult to Shivaji," Munde noted.
Moreover, he alleged, the DF government had proscribed a calendar depicting Shivaji killing Khan. The calendar was published by the Shiv Sangram organisation in Sangli district, to which Patil belongs. "This government cannot claim it respects Shivaji," Munde maintained.
About his visit to Asangi Khurd in Sangli district, Munde said five members of a family were burnt alive by dacoits recently. The victims included a pregnant woman and a toddler. Despite the dastardly incident, neither Patil nor any of the 69 ministers in Maharashtra had found it necessary to visit the scene of the tragedy. The deceased had asked for police protection, but it had not been given, Munde added.
Quoting crime statistics, he said the law-and-order situation in the state was now worse than in Bihar. "Mr Patil should pay more attention to improving this situation rather than lecturing on Shivaji," he quipped.
Date Posted: 3/25/2004
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