Jaipur: References to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his contributions have been dropped from a new Social Science textbook for Class 8 in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Rajasthan.
Congress cried foul and accused the chief minister Vasundhara Raje government of touching a “new low" by the “shameless act" of omitting references to Nehru in the book while carrying out a revision of several textbooks.
Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot said the party would launch an agitation against the “deliberate" omission of Nehru’s name, adding the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP can tweak textbooks but cannot rewrite history.
The references to Nehru have been removed in two chapters in the revised textbook which will be introduced from this academic session for Class 8 in schools affiliated to the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (or Ajmer Board).
Though the book is not available in the market yet, the information has been uploaded on the website of the Rajasthan State Textbook Board, which publishes the book for the state board.
The new name that has been included in the textbook is that of freedom movement leader Hemu Kalani.
While the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Veer Sawarkar, Bhagat Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Subhas Chandra Bose are among those who figured in the textbook, there is no mention of Nehru either in the chapter on the freedom movement or in that on India after independence.
The revision of several textbooks has been carried out under a curriculum restructuring programme by the Udaipur-based State Institute of Education Research and Training.
The earlier edition of the book titled ‘Social Science for Class VIII’ also had a table on ‘Major Leaders of National Movement’ that featured the names and briefs on contributions by Dadabhai Naoroji, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose.
In that particular box, the reference to Nehru stated, “After becoming a barrister, he joined the national movement. He later became the President of Congress, leader of the Interim Government and the first Prime Minister of Independent India."
That particular box, besides other references to Nehru in the book, is also missing from the new edition of the book.
“The BJP government in Rajasthan is carrying out its agenda and touching a new low by omitting references to the freedom fighter and the first prime minister of India who had great contribution in the freedom struggle and in the foundation of independent India," Rameshwar Dudi, leader of opposition in Rajasthan assembly, said.
“The RSS-BJP can tweak textbooks but cannot rewrite history and sideline the contributions of stalwarts like Nehru," Pilot told PTI.
He said the removal of any reference to the first prime minister in the Class 8 textbook reflects “the petty mindedness and narrow mindset of the RSS-BJP".
Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, “This is a shameless act of the government of Rajasthan. The RSS could not find a place in the glorious history of India but now the BJP government is removing the contribution of Nehru from history and people will teach them a lesson."