The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Premchand returns to syllabus

New Delhi, May 7: Prodded by Murli Manohar Joshi, the Central Board of Secondary Education today decided to reinstate a Munshi Premchand novel in the Class XII Hindi syllabus.

The board will now give students the option of study- ing either Premchand’s Nirm-ala or Mridula Sinha’s Jo Me-hndi Ka Rang (The Colour of Mehndi).

Earlier, it had dropped Premchand from the syllabus, replacing him with Sinha, a BJP functionary and president of the Central Social Welfare Board.

The move had upset literary experts and even Joshi himself. The human resources development minister felt the decision slighted Premchand and wanted the CBSE to restore Premchand to “his prestigious place”.

The board had to call a meeting after Joshi asked it to review its decision.

Officials said Sinha’s novel could not be scrapped altogether as students have begun studying it from the academic year beginning last March. Changing the syllabus now would have hurt the students. The only way out was to revert to the earlier policy of allowing students to choose between the texts.

“It is rather late in the day, but many students may still opt for Premchand because there is no comparing the quality of his novels with Sinha’s,” an official said. He wondered why the board had not given students a choice.

“Usually, they give an option. But this time the new syllabus had only one text, which meant they wanted Premchand out,” he said.

Nirmala is about the plight of women while Sinha’s novel is about physically challenged people.

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