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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

INDIA fear key to name row: Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's jab at govt amid NCERT row

History, simply, cannot be changed, Mamata added, going on to compare the Modi government with the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq, a 14th century Sultan of Delhi, mostly remembered for eccentric policy swings

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya Calcutta Published 27.10.23, 07:28 AM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File image

Mamata Banerjee on Thursday expressed her disapproval once again over the rumoured possibility of dropping “India” and calling the nation only “Bharat”.

The chief minister, in a statement during a media conference, raised the issue that has triggered a major debate in the national political space since last month’s G20 events, which offered the first indications that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre plans to use only “Bharat” as the country’s name.

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“Why will I not be able to use the name India? Both the names, Bharat and India, should continue to be used. Be it B.R. Ambedkar, Vallabhbhai Patel, Abul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad… whoever was there at the time of drafting the Constitution, approved both the names,” said Mamata.

“At the very least, respect the Constitution… it is sacrosanct,” she added.

The Trinamul chief, a foremost constituent of the national bloc of anti-BJP parties INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), again suggested that the saffron regime was toying with the possibility of keeping only Bharat as the nation’s name out of fear of the Opposition alliance INDIA.

“Why so much fear? Because we have the front, INDIA?” asked Mamata. "Well, we do have a line below our name of INDIA, it reads ‘Jeetega Bharat’,” Mamata added.

She was referring to a purported recommendation from a high-level committee for social sciences, formed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to revise the school curriculum and have "India" replaced with "Bharat" in school textbooks.

“They are suddenly now issuing a circular stating ‘India’ should be removed. They are saying the name of 'India' will be removed from NCERT textbooks,” she said.

According to the committee, it has suggested replacing “India” with “Bharat” in textbooks, introducing “classical” history to replace “ancient” history in the curriculum and including the “Indian Knowledge System” in the syllabus for all subjects.

The NCERT, however, has said no decision has been taken yet.

“What is this NCERT… who runs it? It’s part and parcel of the Centre…. ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’, both will stay,” said Mamata on Thursday.

Mamata reminded the saffron camp of the transient nature of power.

“They should remember they will not stay in power eternally, and we won’t either. New generations will ascend someday. We should not leave the burden of such blunders as our legacy for them,” she said.

“History, simply, cannot be changed,” Mamata added, going on to compare the Modi government with the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq, a 14th century Sultan of Delhi, mostly remembered for eccentric policy swings.

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