Brazen Communalisation of Education

Tuesday, October 8, 2002

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

Brazen Communalisation of Education

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the brazen manner in which the Vajpayee government is proceeding with the systematic communalisation of the education system.

The two social science text books -- one Contemporary India for Class IX and the other India and the world for Class VI -- recently published by the NCERT quite unmistakably reveal the totally unprofessional pedagogical approach, shoddy editing, gross inaccuracies and blatantly pro-Sangh Parivar bias of the authors, editors and the NCERT establishment. A sample list of the factual errors and highly objectionable and academically unsustainable statements contained in the books has already been published by several newspapers over the last few days.

Given the enormity of the mistakes, the new books should not be introduced until a thorough public review by an expert body has been undertaken. The ideological sympathy in the books becomes more than apparent when describing the situation after 1996 general elections, it is stated that though the BJP formed the government, but "unfortunately BJP could not prove its majority".

It is disgraceful that the book Contemporary India does not even mention the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by a Hindu fanatic while discussing his political role. Neither is mentioned the fact that the RSS was banned following the assassination. The Sangh Parivar's sympathy for the murderer of Gandhi, Nathu Ram Godse is no secret and it is well-known that it was the hate ideology that the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS preached that led to Gandhi's murder. This fact cannot be hidden from school children.

What is more shocking is the defence of this omission by the NCERT director as a mere biographical detail, the non-inclusion of which does not really matter much!

The book Contemporary India for Class IX also reflects the anti-Communist phobia of the ruling dispensation with the following mention of the role of the Communists in the freedom struggle:

"The Indian Communists and followers of Jinnah were perhaps the only political elements who did not support such a strong and widespread movement. …………..As for the Indian Communists, they gave their full support to the League's views and British war efforts. They blindly supported Russia, ignoring the interests of the Indians and their fight against British colonialism."

This is no more than brazen incorporation of the Sangh Parivar's prejudice against the Communists. In a similar move, the October Revolution in Russia has been described as a `coup led by Lenin'.

The book for Class VI in a chapter on vedic civilisation talks of the caste system in a justificatory tone when it describes it (caste system) as flexible in the beginning which `became rigid and moving from one (caste) to other became difficult'. Can our text books remain benevolently neutral vis-à-vis caste system and untouchability when it is prohibited by our Constitution? Do we wish to ignore the role of our women leaders in the struggle for freedom while we talk of gender equality as a major value to be inculcated among our children?

These and many other deliberate distortions clearly establishes the fact that this Vajpayee government is advancing the RSS agenda of converting the secular democratic republic of India into a rabidly intolerant fascistic "Hindu Rashtra".

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that this syllabus be thoroughly discussed by academicians, experts and all state Education Ministers before the NCERT goes about implementing it.