The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP hits back at Left with list

New Delhi, Sept. 13: Buoyed by the Supreme Court judgment upholding the new secondary education syllabus, the BJP today took on the CPM — both its present government in West Bengal and its earlier regime in Kerala — for carrying on a campaign against the “so called saffronisation” of education.

Targeting its detractors, the BJP came out with its own list of politicisation of education:

n The revision of books in some educational institutions in West Bengal, where references are made, amongst others, to Union minister Uma Bharti for raising “communal tension”.

n Introduction of books written by E.M.S. Namboodiripad in Kerala during the Left regime and inclusion of his writings in history books which, inter alia, had even replaced references to Netaji, Gandhiji and Nehruji with Marx, Lenin and EMS.

n Appointment of political activists, including former chief minister Jyoti Basu’s biographer, as vice-chancellors

n Questions in the Bihar Public Service Commission papers asking why the BJP is considered a communal party

The BJP said the court verdict had “exposed the bluff which politically committed leftist historians had been propounding”.

Party spokesperson Arun Jaitley said: “History textbooks had become an instrument for Leftist historians for denigrating Indian religions and various communities that live in India.”

On the contrary, the government had sought to delete some “derogatory” references to religions and communities, and address highly disputed facts, a move that was termed by its critics as “saffronisation”, Jaitley told reporters.

The Congress said that despite the court verdict, it still had doubts about the BJP’s stance on neutrality of the curriculum. “We have no problem with the Supreme Court judgment as it has been delivered on the basis of legalistic merits while we are talking about its philosophical and political aspects. We will continue to harbour our doubts about the BJP’s intentions in regard to the secular neutrality of the curriculum,” party spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy said.

He said it was not mandatory for states to adopt this curriculum, but added that the party had no intention of issuing directives to its governments in the states on this issue.

Questioning the Centre’s unwillingness to hold a meeting of the Central Advisory Board for Education, he said the Congress would insist on it as the board had been instrumental in evolving a consensus on curriculum between the Centre, states and political parties.

Reddy said the party agreed with the apex court on imparting education of religion but such education could be directed towards other ends.

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