GUWAHATI: Assam Congress has opposed the move by Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) to drop several chapters on Jawaharlal Nehru while reducing the syllabus for Classes XI and XII for the 2020-21 academic year.
The council had decided to reduce 30 percent of the existing syllabus to facilitate the students who have suffered a major hit in their studies due to the long lockdown owing to the COVID19 situation.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia has urged the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal to instruct the AHSEC to retain certain chapters pertaining to the policies and contribution of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
In a letter to Sonowal, the Congress leader stated that any move to ease the workload of students was welcome in the abnormal situation created by Covid-19. However, he pointed out that the choice of which chapters to drop was questionable.
He cited the instances of chapters relating to the nation-building policies of Pandit 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 Panchasheel Agreement with China and the neighbouring country had recently stated that it still wants bilateral ties based on that pact,” Saikia asserted in the letter.
His letter added that even political opponents like Bharat Ratna Atal Behari Vajpayee and the incumbent Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh publicly acknowledged Pandit Nehru’s unparalleled contribution to nation-building and nurturing of democratic values.
“Despite the hurdle created by Covid-19, it was important for students of the present generation to learn about the contribution made by India’s first Prime Minister,” he said.
Saikia mentioned that everyone had noticed a concerted campaign by a certain section over the past few years to tarnish the image of Pandit Nehru and he suspected that this force was behind the AHSEC’s decision to drop chapters about Pandit Nehru from the curriculum.
The topics that have been dropped off the Class XII political science syllabus were “Unit-I: First three general elections”, “Unit-II: Nehru’s approach to nation-building”, “Unit-III: Famine and suspension of five-year plans”, “Unit-IV: Nehru’s foreign policy” and “Unit-V: Political succession after Nehru, politics of and Garibi Hatao”. Chapters on the Ayodhya dispute and the Gujarat riots have also been deleted.
The AHSEC said the move was influenced by the decision of the CBSE to cut down the volume of the curriculum in view of the pandemic.