‘Poetic imagination’ says officer after Kannada textbook claims Savarkar flew out of jail in bulbul

After a fresh controversy erupted in Karnataka over a class 8 Kannada textbook that mentioned how Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar flew out of his prison cell with bulbuls, the managing director of Karnataka Text Book Society (KTBS) has stated that the author could have used it as part of the “poetic imagination”.

“The chapter in question is part of the author’s account of the travel diaries of different personalities, among which Savarkar is one. The author could have used it as a metaphor to interpret Savarkar’s devotion to his motherland. The statement is nothing but a poetic imagination,” said KTBS Managing Director MP Madegowda.

The passage in the chapter titled Kalavanu Geddavaru written by KT Gatti said, “In the room where Savarkar was imprisoned, there was not even a small keyhole. Yet bulbul birds would fly into the room from ‘somewhere, on whose wings Savarkar used to sit and fly out to visit the motherland every day.

Congress leader Priyank Kharge, however, tweeted: “This does not seem like a metaphor.” After the matter came to light, some netizens expressed shock and dismay at the absurdity of the claim, while others felt it would tarnish Savarkar’s image.

Meanwhile, Vikram Sampath, author of Savarkar’s biography, said, “I was shocked and surprised after reading these lines. This definitely cannot be a real example. The author may have used poetic sanctity, but it doesn’t convey exactly what it’s really meant to be. But if that’s true, it hurts the man and his legacy more than anything else. I sincerely hope the government looks into it more closely.”

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