The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spike threat on book

Ranchi, June 9: Jharkhand, declared HRD minister Pradeep Yadav today, will re-write history but will not allow a textbook, recommended by the National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT) and written by Romila Thapar, to be taught in schools “till the BJP remains in power”.

Yadav later admitted to The Telegraph that he himself had neither seen the book nor read it. But that did not prevent him from launching a vitriolic attack on Thapar as being “anti-national”. He was speaking at a function to mark the release of Intermediate results by the Jharkhand Academic Council.

The minister appeared peeved at the alleged portion in which the text book refers to evidence that in ancient India guests were served with beef; he also lashed out at the textbook declaring that Ramayana and Mahabharata had no historical basis.

Such “obnoxious” text books, he declared, would not be allowed in Jharkhand or, for that matter, in any BJP-ruled state. Fresh history books will be written for the school students and for this purpose a state council of education research and training (SCERT) would be formed “within the next 45 days”, he said.

“Such biased books will not be taught in the schools here; we will not feed our children with such filth and nor will we let our children suffer due to non-availability of textbooks,” he fumed.

Significantly, the book in question was nowhere to be found in the state capital on Thursday. The minister defended his outburst without reading the textbook. “My reading or not reading the book is not important; my counterparts from other states have informed me of what the book carries and that is sufficient,” he said.

Asked how he proposed to constitute the SCERT, which has been pending since the last two years, Yadav groped for an answer. A committee would be formed, he said, to study the feasibility. As an after-thought, he added that a textbook writing committee, too, would be formed to expedite the process.

Yadav, along with other ministers from BJP-ruled states, had boycotted a meeting of the NCERT and the Central Advisory Board on Education in New Delhi this month.

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