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Retain chapters on Nehru in school syllabus, Assam Congress urges CM Sonowal

Students and their teacher wear protective face masks inside a classroom after authorities ordered schools to reopen voluntarily for classes 9 to 12, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Guwahati in Assam on September 21, 2020.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The Opposition Congress in Assam has requested Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to retain certain chapters on India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the syllabi of Classes 11 and 12.

Congress MLA and Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia on September 25 wrote a letter to Mr. Sonowal, seeking an instruction to the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) on retaining the chapters related to the former Prime Minister’s policies and contributions to the country.

The AHSEC, in a move to provide relief to students affected by the closure of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic, dropped several chapters from Political Science and History subjects for Classes 11 and 12.

Apart from Nehru’s policies, the chapters missing include those on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi Hatao’ campaign, anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the Ayodha dispute, the 2002 Gujarat riots, Mandal Commission report, minority rights, women’s empowerment and the first three general elections, besides the NDA phase under former Prime Minister Ataj Bihari Vajpayee.

The AHSEC said these chapters were dropped to reduce the students’ load by 30%.

“Any move to ease the workload of students is welcome in the current abnormal situation, but the choice of chapters for exclusion is questionable,” Mr. Saikia said, citing Nehru’s nation-building and foreign polices and Ms. Gandhi’s plans for alleviating poverty.

“Any unbiased person would concede that Pandit Nehru laid the foundation of modern India by emphasising on industrialisation of the country via scientific technology. Similarly, Pandit Nehru had signed the Panchsheel Agreement with China and the neighbouring country had recently stated that it still wants bilateral ties based on that pact,” he wrote.

Mr. Saikia, son of former Assam Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia, also said that Nehru continued to get global respect for spearheading the Non-aligned Movement during the Cold War.

“Even political opponents including Bharat Ratna Atal Behari Vajpayee and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh publicly acknowledged Nehru’s unparalleled contribution to nation-building and the nurturing of democratic values,” he said, adding students of the present generation needed to know his contributions.

“...Everyone had noticed a concerted campaign by a certain section over the past few years to tarnish the image of Pandit Nehru and negate his contribution to the nation. There is a ground to suspect that this force is behind the AHSEC’s decision to drop chapters on Pandit Nehru from the curriculum,” Mr. Saikia wrote.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 12:10:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/retain-chapters-on-nehru-in-school-syllabus-assam-congress-urges-cm-sonowal/article32701794.ece

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