Rare gift of 'history' - book banned by british given to raj bhavan

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Ranchi
  • Published 12.02.07
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Ranchi, Feb. 12: Raj Bhavan’s move to dig out pre and post Independence history may redefine happenings under British rule.

Birendra Singh, a history professor, has gifted Raj Bhavan a rare history book penned by Sundar Lal, Bharat Mein Angrezi Raj, which the British had seized in 1938.

In response to an open invitation from the Raj Bhavan to gift manuscripts, documents, photographs and diaries related to the freedom struggle since 1857 for setting up a museum, Singh has handed over the book that his family had kept safe for the past 80 years.

His father Harihar Singh was a sub-inspector in Bhagalpur when the British rulers banned the book and ordered the police to seize the copies. Of the 2,000 copies, printed on September 30, 1938, the police could confiscate 1,700.

The police action prompted Gandhiji to make an appeal to “Young India” that they should face the ignominy of the search operation but refuse to hand over the book to the police.

Singh pointed out that the action of the British indicated that the history books were written at the diktat of the colonial rulers. Several events penned by historians under the British rule are still being taught in schools.

“The 500-page book could redefine the history of India under the British rule,” Singh says.

The principal secretary to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, Amit Khare, revealed that the invitation was issued from the museum only a few days ago.

“Besides, we are also gathering photographs of eminent visitors to Raj Bhavan. We are told that Mahatma Gandhi stayed in Raj Bhavan when he had come here to meet the Viceroy,” he said.

“It is a bid to commemorate the 150th anniversary of our first freedom struggle in 1857 and 60th anniversary of Independence. The museum, to be housed in Audrey House, would refresh the memory about martyrs and update the Gennext about their sacrifices,” he said.

The museum will have two galleries. The first one will display the portraits of martyrs, their lives and stories of freedom struggle. The second gallery will display the post-Independence achievements of the country in the fields of education, industry, irrigation and agriculture.