Students of class VIII in Rajasthan schools will no longer study the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru in their social science textbook as references to the first prime minister have been dropped.
The references to Nehru have been removed in two chapters in the revised textbook which will be introduced from this academic session for class VIII in schools affiliated to
Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (or Ajmer Board).
Though the book is not available in the market yet, the information has been uploaded on the website of the Rajasthan State Textbook Board, which publishes the book for the state board.
The new name that has been included in the textbook is that of freedom movement leader Hemu Kalani. While the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Veer Sawarkar, Bhagat Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhas Chandra Bose are among those figured in the textbook, there is no mention of Nehru either in the chapter on Freedom Movement or in that on India After Independence.
The revision of several textbooks has been carried out under curriculum restructuring by the Udaipur-based State Institute of Education Research and Training.
The earlier edition of the book titled 'Social Science for Class VIII' also had a table on 'Major Leaders of National Movement' that featured the names and briefs on contribution of Dadabhai Naoroji, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose.
In that particular box, the reference to Nehru stated, "After becoming a barrister, he joined the national movement He later became the president of Congress, leader of the
Interim government and the first prime minister of Independent India."
That particular box, besides other references to Nehru in the book, is also not there in the new edition of the book. Opposition Congress has hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party saying that the state government has touched a "new low" by omitting references to Nehru in the school book.
"The BJP government in Rajasthan is carrying out its agenda and touching a new low by omitting references to the freedom fighter and the first prime minister of India who had
great contribution in the freedom struggle and in the foundation of independent India," Rameshwar Dudi, Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly, told PTI.
He said the issue will be taken up in a major way.
Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, "This is a shameless act of the government of Rajasthan. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh could not find a place in the glorious history of India but now the BJP government is removing the contribution of Nehru from history and people will teach them a lesson."
He said, "Nehru's contribution to Rajasthan is major. The Panchayti Raj system started from the state. The act reflects the state government's narrow-mindedness and a campaign should be undertaken to expose the government in public."
Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot while decrying the move said public will give a fitting reply to the BJP government in the state which is "politicising education and distorting history".
The government is taking politically motivated steps and distorting history deliberately, he said, alleging that schemes and programmes named after former prime ministers like Nehru and Indira Gandhi are also being renamed which shows the "mentality of the BJP".
People's Union for Civil Liberties wrote an open letter to Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani demanding that the syllabus should not be changed as per the "RSS ideology".
In a statement, PUCL alleged that "transparency" was not maintained while "changing" the syllabus and said that books should not be "inspired by RSS ideology".