The new government in Rajasthan had its first cabinet meeting today where revision of certain textbooks and syllabus was discussed among other issues. The government will try to undo what the “saffronisation of education”, the education minister said.
Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara told NDTV, “A committee of historians and educationists will review changes in the syllabus created by the BJP where references to several prominent personalities were done away with in textbooks for Rajasthan.”
In 2016, when Jawaharlal Nehru’s name was dropped from state board’s Class 8 textbooks, the Congress was quick to lash out at government.
Emperor Akbar lost his traditional title of ”Great”, which was given to the person who fought battles against him — Maharana Pratap. The change in historical nomenclature was the brainchild of former education minister Vasudev Devnani, who justified his decision by saying there can’t be two ‘Great’ kings from the same era, especially since they were adversaries.
The minister had also ensured that the textbooks for Classes 1 to 8, introduced in July 2016, were rewritten with focus on “Indian culture” and included government schemes such as Swachh Bharat Mission and Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao programme.
The move was criticised by educationists and historians.
Attacking the previous government led by senior BJP leader Vasundhara Raje, Mr Dotasara added, “They spared only Gandhi ji on currency notes… and forgot the contribution of many others, including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. They only remember RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya.”
Medieval history also underwent some changes, where ancient Indian scientific discoveries of Aryabhatt and Bhaskaracharya got greater prominence over Newton and Pythagoras. Aryabhatt is credited with the discovery of zero in the place value system while Bhaskaracharya’s work on calculus predates Newton by 500 years.
Decisions such as Surya Namaskar, a yoga practice made compulsory in all government schools in the state, and saffron bicycles for schoolchildren will be reviewed, the education minister said.
Sources in the education department said while Surya Namaskar could stay as an optional activity, bicycles will get a colour change as the government is “willing to replace the orange with any other colour”.
Last year, the Congress had demanded removal of certain sections on former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi from the Maharashtra board’s history textbook for Class 9.
The party said that the contribution of the Nehru-Gandhi family in building the foundation of the country is immense, but attempts were being made to tarnish the image of the two political stalwarts of the Congress who gave their lives for the nation..