Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Example of Text Books Politics

Of course, like most Indians, I love to hate Arjun Singh for what he has done to the higher education in India. But thinking that he is the worst would probably be a huge mistake. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi had of course had his time with the text books during the NDA regime, but it doesn't end there. I was surprised, and somewhat shocked (still) when I happened to read a Rajya Sabha question and answer session while searching the net for my favorite one act play Reedh Ki Haddi by Jagdish Chandra Mathur. The play actually is one of the finest pieces of Hindi literature I read during my school and explains the condition of women in India in the most practical manner.

Here is the complete answer given by Arjun Singh to the 'Honorable' members who had questioned not only the play but the language of Munshi Premchand himself.


Alleged objectionable materials in certain books approved by NCERT - Contd.

THE MINISTER OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT (SHRI ARJUN SINGH), replying to points raised by hon'ble Members on 18th August 2006, said: NCERT has taken utmost care in drafting the books. Noted Academicians, Scientists and Educationalists have been included to examine the textbooks from the earlier times . Every book is examined by a National monitoring committee constituted by Human Resources Development . This committee comprises representative from various states and expert from field of education. There is set of guide line for examining the text books

I have tried my best to understand the objections raised by some hon. Members . I found that sentence or part of the books have been read without considering the context . I would like to clear that no change has been made in Hindi textbooks for class 2nd ,4th ,5th ,7th ,8th and 10th. Books which was studied during the NDA regime are still in the syllabus.

There was a objection regarding "Mochiram" a poem by Shri Dhoomil. It was included the syllabus in the year 1977 and it is regarding expressing the concerns of deprived people. Another objection was regarding a part of autobiography of Shri Bechan Sharma Ugra. Ugra jee considered himself among one from the lower section of society despite belonging to the Upper castes of society .

An objection was regarding Shri Om prakash Balmiki , who himself is dalit and is a importing representative of contemporary Hindi. He tried to depicted that caste reference words used in his story called KHANABADOSH was bear by the labours to maintain their existence . It has mentioned in the Footnote that these caste reference words are unconstitutional and these words should not used in day-today life.

Some other member has raised his objection regarding a story, Doodh ka Daam, of Munshi Prem Chand . I would like to say that these type of words were used in the society in that time. Further I would like to say that hon. Member has reached to conclusion on the basis of one line without considering the whole context of the story. And I don't consider myself to be fit to criticise the literature of great Munshi Prem Chand.

Hon. Member has raised some objection on poem of Shri Avtar Singh Pash. His poem reflects the social inequality. And it belongs to naxalite movement of Bihar in 1967. I want to say that Pash want to support ambitions of youth and it belong to model country so it should be seen in this context.

Hon. Member has objection against an one act play, Reedh Ki Haddi. It is about the status of women in the in the Indian society. So , it is clear that this play is all about the inequality among men-women of the society.

Some objection has been raised on some portion of autobiography of Maqbool Fida Hussain, the famous Painter. This text book has no mention of his controversial paintings. Hon. Member has asked about the reasons for not including the autobiographies of Amrita Shergil and Nandlal Bose. And I would like to clear that these people have not written their autobiographies

New text books of history for the classes of 6th, 9th and 11th have already introduced for the academic session of 2007. Hon. Member has mentioned that in the text book of Prof. Vipin Chandra, the leaders like Shri Aurbindo Ghosh & Lokmanya Tilak and Shri Vipin Chandra Pal have been termed as terrorists. Prof. Vipin Chandra has termed these leaders not as terrorists but as extreme nationalists. In the later chapter he had termed the extremism as a means to gain national freedom. With regard to the case filed in High Court related to this portion a committee of three Historians was constituted. The committee has held, "The words extremism and extremist have not been used in derogatory manner.

The committee about the description of Jats has held that the description of the Jat farmers revolt is also not derogatory.

With regard to the third objection raised about Guru Gobind Singh, the committee said that the sentence used in the text book requires to be amended.

Now, I would like to reply to the objections raised by Hon. Member Shrimati Sushma Swaraj. This is painful and unfortunate that she has termed the poem under the caption "MochiRam" as stigma whereas for the literary critics, this poem is milestone in the contemporary Hindi poetry. She has raised objections to the language used in the stories written by Munshi Premchand and Omprakash Valmiki. Probably the Hon. Member wants to negate this fact that Munshi Premchand represents higher values i.e. social justice, equality and fraternity enshrined in our Constitution. I wish to inform Shrimati Sushma Swaraj that Shri Valmiki has reflected the nature of emerging Dalit literature and he was himself a Dalit.

The Hon. Member has raised her objection about the one Act play "Reedh ki Haddi" written by late Jagdish Chandra Mathur. As I have mentioned earlier that this one Act is one of the most important objectives of our Constitution and our education policy i.e. this play touches the equality and dignity of women.

Hon. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has alleged that we are creating hatred in the minds of our children. I would like to assure that the goal of National curriculum 2005 is to make glorious and positive illustration of all communities and regions of India and thereby to strengthen national unity.

I respect the views expressed by the honourable members. They have expressed their viewpoint very impressively. I talked about the context because the words change their meaning as per the context. When we were studying, at that time also, in our history, it was said that Tilak ji, Arvind ji, Vipin Pal ji, they represent the extremist ideology. Freedom struggle is the definition of nationalism itself. That is why I talked about the context.

I only want to request that still a lot of text books are being prepared. Therefore, all the views expressed by you will definitely be kept in mind. I am thankful to the honourable members for their views.

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