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State to dial NCERT on history book

Ranchi, May 12: The state human resource development department today decided to send a request letter to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) seeking its permission to renew the copyright of its books for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 sessions in the 'larger interest of the 40 lakh students of Jharkhand.'

The letter, which the state government would write to the NCERT authorities next week, would plead the council to allow it to print those NCERT history books that were published during the regime of the NDA government at the Centre.

In a recent communiqu', the NCERT had conveyed to the state that if it was not going to include the recent version of the history books published by the NCERT in school curriculum, the council would not renew the copyright of its books for the coming sessions.

'The NCERT had made it clear that if Jharkhand wanted to implement NCERTbooks in its schools, it should not impose a condition of not including the recent version of history. The NCERT says there cannot be a pick and choose condition,' HRD sources said.

The HRD department, which convened an emergency meeting today in the wake of the NCERT's missive, has, however, decided to make an appeal to the NCERT authorities in the name of the 40 lakh students and their future being at stake due to non-availability of books.

The department, however, is uncompromising on its stand on the history books on the history books issue.

HRD minister Pradeep Yadav, who presided over the meeting today, is learnt to have reiterated the government's stand on the history books at the meeting.

'We will request the NCERT authorities to renew the copyright for the next two sessions keeping in mind the future of the students. But at the same time, we would convey them that under no circumstances the state would introduce the biased version of the history books published at the behest of the UPA government,' officer on special duty with the HRD, Vijay Bahadur Singh quoted the minister as saying.

The minister, however, could not be contacted for his comments.

Speaking on the recently published NCERT history books, Singh told The Telegraph: 'The history book contains several objectionable references to the icons of India. Certain portions paint Maharana Pratap in bad light. Moreover, it describes Shivaji as pahadi chuha (mountain mouse). According to the writer, Jain Tirthankars are imaginary, the story of Shri Ram is not real and other Hindu scriptures are imaginary. It has objectionable references to the Vedic age.'

'To such writers, who are schooled into a particular anti-national thought process, everything that is non-Hindu is real and everything that talks of national pride and Hindu's self-respect is unreal. History is one field where we cannot concoct the desired facts to gain political mileage, which is what the UPA government at the Centre is doing inserting objectionable portions in the history texts,' he said.

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