GUWAHATI: Opposition Congress in Assam has petitioned Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal urging him to retain certain chapters, pertaining to the policies and contributions of country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in the syllabi of classes XI and XII.
In a letter to Sonowal, leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA, Debabrata Saikia, urged Sonowal to instruct the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) to retain the chapters.
To give relief to students in these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the AHSEC had taken a decision to drop the chapters on Nehru’s policies, anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Ayodhya dispute, Gujarat riots, women empowerment, minority rights, Mandal Commission report, the first three general elections etc to reduce students’ load by 30%.
Saikia said while any move to ease the workload of students is welcome in the current abnormal situation, the choice of chapters for exclusion was questionable. He cited the instances of chapters relating to nation-building policies of Nehru, his foreign policy and the “Garibi Hatao” campaign initiated by Indira Gandhi.
“Any unbiased person would concede that Pandit Nehru laid the foundation of modern India by laying emphasis on industrialization of the country via scientific technology. Similarly, Pandit Nehru had signed the Panchsheel Agreement with China and the neighbouring country had recently stated that it still wants bilateral ties based on that pact,” the Congress leader wrote.
He asserted that Nehru continued to get global respect for spearheading the non-aligned movement during the Cold War. Even political opponents including Bharat Ratna Atal Behari Vajpayee and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh publicly acknowledged Nehru’s unparalleled contribution to nation-building and the nurturing of democratic values, Saikia said.
He said it was important for students of the present generation to learn about the contributions made by Nehru.
“...Everyone had noticed a concerted campaign by a certain section over the past few years to tarnish the image of Pandit Nehru and negate his contribution to the nation. There is a ground to suspect that this force is behind the AHSEC’s decision to drop chapters about Pandit Nehru from the curriculum,” Saikia added.