New History Books Attempt to Saffronize School Education: Opposition in Haryana

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A day after Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal practically released new history textbooks for grades 6-10 for students enrolled in the Board of School Education Haryana (BSEH), the opposition called it an attempt to “saffronize” school education.

The state board has made major changes to the history book curriculum starting with this new academic session. Kanwar Pal said the new books will include Indian civilization, history, culture, literature, patriots, freedom struggle, known and unknown heroes who took part in freedom struggle and events adults in India after 1947.

“The new program also has the history of the state. It has been developed under the guidance of the chairman of the board of directors and prepared along the lines of the new education policy,” the minister had said when the new books were released on Friday.

Board Chairman Jagbir Singh said students will experience the contribution of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chander Bosh, Mahatma Gandhi, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Mohan Singh Mandar of Kaithal (who revolted against the Mughals), Arya Samaj, Braham Samaj, Bhashikirat Hitkarini Sabha, Swami Vivekananda, Prarthna Samaj, Ramakrishna Mission, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and others.

“The new books also include freedom fighters from Haryana – Raja Nahar Singh, Rao Tula Ram, Hukum Chand Jain, Neki Ram Sharma, Chhotu Ram, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mohini Devi, Vidya Vati, etc. The original program only had a paragraph on freedom fighters. But we have now focused on our history instead of focusing on the Mughals,” he added.

On the opposition accusing the board of spreading BJP ideology, the president said, “We came to spread saffronization. The color saffron is a symbol of progress and we have colored the main gate of the Haryana painting in Bhiwani with the color saffron. People are free to say what they want,” he added.

Reacting strongly to the content of the new programme, Tosham MLA and former minister Kiran Choudhry said the BJP was trying to change the facts of history but everyone knows who fought for independence.

“How can a council teach party ideology to students in class 9? This is an attempt to brainwash students. I will review the new program and raise the issue at the meeting. The BJP is trying to saffronize school education, but history cannot be changed,” she said.

“The BJP is trying to change historical facts as it sees fit. The government should also mention the role of former Chief Minister Bansi Lal who built modern Haryana,” she added.

Pradeep Deswal, BJP alliance partner, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), head of INSO’s student wing, said it was wrong to teach the ideology of a particular organization to students.

“Instead of teaching an organization’s ideology, the council should talk about former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, who fought for farmers’ and workers’ rights. He laid the foundation for Haryana,” he added.

Rohtak-based political expert Satish Tyagi said other parties used to implement their ideology in textbooks smartly, but the BJP does it openly.

“The ideology of any party or organization should be taught to adult students after class 12. The government of Haryana should also teach the role of Veer Savarkar before and after his imprisonment and the role of RSS after 1930,” a- he added.

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