Yash Pal: respect should not be demanded by threat or through violence

Academic and chairman of the National Curriculum Framework (2005) review committee Yash Pal has called the dispute over B.R. Ambedkar's cartoon ‘ridiculous' and said children understood the humour behind such works.

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone, Prof. Yash Pal wondered why “people were seeking artificial respect.”

“Politicians think children do not understand anything but they see so many things and have the intelligence to understand them,” he said. Referring to the protests in Parliament against the publication of anti-politician cartoons in school textbooks, Prof. Yash Pal urged the MPs and Ministers to have enough self-confidence.

“If there is anybody in the world who demands respect, I will assert that the person is not worthy of being respected. Respect should not be demanded by threat or through violence,” he said, referring to the protests in Parliament against the publication of anti-politician cartoons.

“We are censoring trivial things”

Stating that there was no insult to anybody in the cartoon, Prof. Yash Pal said politicians were becoming intolerant of the slightest of criticisms. “We are censoring trivial things. Have we become mad? What was wrong in a cartoon published 50 years ago? If we do not have cartoons, we won't have sense of humour,” he said.

Praising the work done by Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar, advisers (Textbook Development Committee) to the National Council of Educational Research and Training who had resigned their positions in the wake of the controversy, Prof. Yash Pal said nobody had the creativity to do it like this earlier. “It is so marvellous and not dull and boring.”

Strongly condemning reports that the government plans to probe the role of people involved in the publication of the cartoon, Prof. Yash Pal urged the media to make people realise that such moves were ridiculous. “We will become a laughing stock. We are damaging the future of this nation,” he said.

Prof. Yash Pal also warned politicians not to mess up with the national curriculum. “If you do it, you will mess it up for long years,” he said.

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