UP School Board Saffronizes Syllabus Removes Writings of Tagore, Shelley


The students of classes 10 and 12 of the UP Board will no longer study the works of great poet and litterateur Rabindranath Tagore, Milton or Shelley from the new academic session (2021-22). The Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UPMSP) is implementing the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus for English in these classes starting from this year.
In the process, Tagore’s story ‘The Home Coming’ (Chhuti) and Dr. Radhakrishnan’s essay ‘The Women’s Education’ have been removed from the Class 12 syllabus after its revision. AL Basham’s ‘The Heritage of India’ has also been removed from the curriculum of class 12. Mulk Raj Anand’s story ‘The Lost Child’ and ‘An Astrologer’s Day’ by RK Narayanan have also been taken out of the syllabus. The students of class 12 will no longer be taught the poems of renowned renaissance poets like John Milton, P. B. Shelley and William Wordsworth. From the class 10 syllabus, Sarojini Naidu’s poem ‘The Village Song’ has now been removed. The works of Chakravarty Rajagopalachari, W. M. Raeburn, and R. Srinivasan have also been removed from the new syllabus. This is not an isolated incident. Previously, Sangh Parivar openly opposed Rabindranath’s humanitarian view as it didn’t fit with their Nationalism (i.e. Hindutvawadi outlook).
Last year on the plea of reducing the load of syllabus due to the shortage of study time in Covid situation chapters on federalism, citizenship, nationalism, secularism, human rights, legal aid and local self-government were expunged from CBSE courses. Now the UP syllabus. Since the 2014 election, when the BJP returned to power, it started attack on democratic, secular, scientific remains in education field. The affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent body of the BJP, have become active in the field of education again. They have been interacting with officials in the ministry of human resources ( now education) to change the curriculum to match their Hindutvawadi agenda. The Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas and other such organisations have been demanding the removal of English and Urdu words from texts. They want the ideas of Rabindranath Tagore on nationalism removed.
While the above-mentioned pieces are being removed from the syllabus, in the same UP state the Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut is introducing books by Ramdev and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as part of its undergraduate philosophy syllabus. The UP government has recommended Ramdev’s book Yog Sadhna va Yog Chikitsa Rahasya and Adityanath’s book Hathyog Swarup aur Sadhana.
While the convenor of the Board of Studies, CCSU certified the book by Adityanath as of very high academic value , and that by Ramdev as a good addition for Philosophy students, the educationists are protesting against this move of the BJP-led UP Government. A teacher at the CCSU university told the Press on condition of anonymity : “We understand they are appalling recommendations – powerful people are forcing us to teach from their books, which are sub-standard… Asking people to practise yoga isn’t the same thing as forcing them to read the books of people with half-baked knowledge.” However the BJP has become deaf to their criticisms. Let’s recall Bhagat Singh’s lesson: It takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear. [ Sources: India Today 6 July 2021; Deccan Herald 3 June 2021]

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