Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh education board’s decision to drop portions related to Congress’ history, former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri from Class 12 syllabus has angered the state party unit, which has threatened agitation if it’s not rolled back.
Congress leader Anil Shastri, son of Lal Bahadur Shastri, has written a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Anandi Ben Patel Sunday evening, urging them to ensure that those portions are reintroduced in the syllabus.
Calling it a “conspiracy”, Shastri told ThePrint that the central and state governments want to eliminate Congress’ contribution in freedom struggle and in formation of the country after Independence from school curriculum.
“If the children of the country aren’t aware about (the legacy of) Nehru-Shastri, then what will they learn about history,” he asked.
UP Congress president Ajay Lallu said that if the government fails to take cognisance of the letter written by Shastri, then they will agitate against the issue. He said that reducing the syllabus does not mean that the Congress’s history should be removed.
Lallu further said that if children are unaware about the history of this country, then how they would know about great leaders like Nehru and Shastri.
“All this is being done at the behest of the government. The UP Congress will openly oppose it,” he added.
Several local Congress leaders from Prayagraj, where the UP Board has its headquarters, have also written to it last week, demanding a rollback of its decision.
What all were dropped?
The Board of High School and Intermediate Education in Uttar Pradesh is considered to be one of the largest education boards in the country. More than 50 lakh students, including high school and intermediate, study under it and there are over 8,000 schools across the state affiliated to the board.
The board last week announced rationalisation of syllabi from Classes 9-12 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The portions of the Congress, Nehru and Shastri were a part of the Class 12 civics syllabus under a section called Unit B and were based on ‘Politics in Independent India’.
The portions dropped from the syllabus include phase of single party (Congress) dominance, the first three general elections, the nature of the Congress’s dominance at the national level, challenges to the Congress’s style of functioning, political pattern after Nehru and Shastri, the general election of 1967, division and re-organisation of the Congress and the party’s victory in the 1971 elections.
Portions dropped from other subjects too
Not just from civics, the board has dropped portions from other subjects too.
William Shakespeare’s magnum opus ‘Merchant of Venice’ has been dropped from Class 12 English syllabus, while a satire called ‘Ninda Ras’ authored by popular satirist Harishankar Parsai has been dropped from Class 12 Hindi syllabus.
Portions related to electoral politics, free and fair elections have been dropped from Class 10 syllabus of social science, while electoral politics and electoral reforms have been dropped from the syllabus of Class 11 civics.
Topics on ‘Rise of Nazism’, Hitler and Harappan civilisation have been dropped from Class 12 history syllabus.
While interacting with the media last week, Divya Kant Shukla, secretary of the board, said all these topics have been removed from the syllabi and not from textbooks. “They are very much available for those who want to read them,” he had said.
Shukla also said that very few classes were held for students due to the pandemic, which is why the curriculum for their exams has been reduced.
He also said that objections raised in the matter would be looked into.
‘Intention of the government is quite obvious’
Shastri, meanwhile, said that people still fondly remember the honesty of his father and the entire family, and children need to know about it.
“After the death of Shastriji, my mother paid the entire car loan from her family pension. All these are lessons to be learnt for the new generation, which have been removed from the course,” he said.
“The real intention of the government is quite obvious, otherwise how can such important chapters be dropped? If the children do not get to know about the first three general elections, then how will they be able to comprehend the electoral history of the country?”