Rajasthan Government has taken up a major step towards development of education system. On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, Minister of State for Primary and Secondary education for Rajasthan, Vasudev Devnani announced that school syllabus would be revised for next academic session in the State. As of now, Vasundhara Raje Government plans to omit stories and poems written by noted Urdu writers Ismat Chugtai and Safdar Hashmi and short narratives from Hindi text books that revolve around Muslim characters. The move has drawn flak from educationists yet the decision was taken keeping in mind the ongoing mission to revolutionize school education.
In the past two months, curriculum of Class 1 to 8 in government schools of Rajasthan has been changed by the education department’s textbook redoing committee. The committee is also responsible for the decision to remove these stories. On August 24, Raje government had undertaken the initiative to revamp textbooks with an aim to promote ‘local cultural practices and beliefs’.
However the educationists are of the view that the decision is completely against the National Curriculum Framework 2005 according to which states have been advised to include multi-lingual content in textbooks to promote national integration. Rajiv Gupta, former textbook committee member of National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT), said, “It seems that they are interested in creating institutionalization of social divide. It will make our country a theocratic state.”
‘Ek Din ki Badshahat’ and ‘Ajmer Ki Sair’ in class V, ‘Haleem Chala Chand Par’ and ‘Soot Ka Resham’ in class IV and ‘Chand Ke Khatir’ in class III have been selected to be removed from text books, all these stories and narratives relate to Muslims. In the draft pertaining to Hindi textbooks which was sent to the education department, the textbook redoing committee has asked that such chapters should be replaced with a life sketch of revered Sindhi community saints Tauram and Kawar Ram and a chapter on freedom fighter Hemu Kalani.
A member of the committee was of the view, “These chapters and poetries were loaded with Urdu words which we believe are difficult for a majority of students to comprehend. Besides, they were highlighting practices of a particular community which is against our guidelines for redoing of textbooks.”