The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Birthday bashers put on the Job

Exit, Job Charnock. Goodbye, August 24, 1690. Come Monday, and a clutch of Calcuttans — bureaucrats, education officials and history teachers — will embark on the historic task of erasing all textbook references to Calcutta’s birthday and its founder.

Forty-eight hours after Calcutta High Court’s landmark judgment confirming the fact that Calcutta has no birthday and no one founder, the government announced on Sunday that it would begin the exercise to revise its history syllabus immediately.

“Responding to the court order upholding the findings of the five-member historians’ committee, we will issue a notice asking all concerned to revise the portions of the school texts containing information that Calcutta was founded by Job Charnock and it’s birthday is August 24, 1690,” said state school education minister Kanti Biswas.

Charnock will, from now, find mention as “an individual who had played a significant role for the development” of the city.

School education department sources, however, said it would be difficult to reach the revised texts to students this year, as printing of books for the academic session 2003-04 is almost complete. “If we find that the majority of the students have already bought their books, we will ask the schools to skip the portions and explain the implications of the court order. But by the beginning of the next academic session, we will ensure that all references to Charnock as the city’s founder are deleted,” said Jyotiprakash Ghosh, president, West Bengal Board of Primary Education.

Officials of the state school education department are expected to meet the authorities of the state primary and secondary boards on Monday to discuss the matter. According to minister Biswas, references to the city’s birthday and founder abound in the history syllabus at the primary level, while these two facts find no more than passing mention at the secondary level.

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