Sale of revised works of Mahatma Gandhi stopped
New Delhi, June 17
The committee was appointed by the Information and Broadcasting Minister to look into complaints of errors and omissions in the revised edition of the complete works of Mahatma Gandhi.
Addressing mediapersons here today, Jaipal Reddy said the ministry had decided to revert to the original edition of the complete works of Mahatma Gandhi and treat the original edition as official. For the benefit of those who own the revised edition, a concordance table will be provided. CD-ROM will be revised and will contain the facsimile of the original edition.
“The issue has been engaging our attention for the last six months. The decision has been taken on the basis of the recommendations made by the committee chaired by Mr Narayan Desai, octogenarian Gandhian. I’m going to print 100 editions of the original volume. Whatever be the financial implications. They are not really big. Gandhi is too sacred for us”, the minister said.
Mr Reddy said it was sometime in 2002 that the revised edition of the complete works of Mahatma Gandhi was launched. He said the edition was replete with errors and this was brought to the notice of the government by Gandhian institutions and scholars.
A number of complaints were received from the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, the Prasthan Ashram, the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust and scholars in India and abroad. Questions were also raised in Parliament.
Mr Reddy used the opportunity to attack the BJP-led NDA government and said that it seemed as if the decision was taken by default. “It is a reflection of the governance we are providing to the country.’’
He said the project of complete works of Mahatma Gandhi was launched in 1956 and was completed in 1994 with the publication of the last volume in the 100-volume series. The project was completed in 38 years.
“Mysteriously, sometime in 2002, the original edition was stopped and the revised edition was launched. After publication of the revised edition, numerous complaints about errors and misleading deletions were made.”
“Many deletions related to Savarkar. It was not possible through examination of files to fix responsibility.’’
The minister said it was difficult to say whether the deletions were deliberate or inadvertent. “The decision is shrouded in secrecy. There is no record of who took the decision to launch the revised edition of complete works of Mahtama Gandhi.
“When I came to know of this, I asked the publications divisions to go slow on the sale of the revised edition. Over 2000 books of old editions were bought.’’