The state board’s history textbook for Class IX has run into controversy, with Congress leaders and some researchers objecting to certain sections on former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. The city Congress has threatened a protest against the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research (Balbharati), demanding that the sections be “corrected”.
The state’s Class IX syllabus was recently revised. Chapter 2 of the revised history textbook, titled ‘India: Events after 1960’, says that the Allahabad High Court had said that Indira Gandhi misused the government machinery for her election campaign, leading to nationwide strikes following which the Emergency was declared.
The textbook says that Rajiv Gandhi faced criticism for corruption in the purchase of long-range canons from Bofors.
Regarding changes after 1991, the chapter says: “During this period, the Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri Mosque issue at Ayodhya came to the forefront.”
The Congress issued a statement on Monday demanding that the books be recalled and corrected. “The textbook makes no mention of the fact that the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi in the Bofors case. This is not only disrespect of the SC order but deliberate hiding of facts,” said city Congress chief Ramesh Bagwe.
Alleging that the BJP was trying to create a bad impression about Congress leaders through such articles in textbooks, city Congress general secretary Ramesh Iyer said, “This is being deliberately done by members of saffron organisations.” He added that if the books are not “corrected”, the Congress would organised a protest against Balbharati.
“My problem is not that Bofors and Emergency are included in the textbook, it is that demolition of the Babri Mosque by the Hindutva brigade is not mentioned. When one attempts to write history of contemporary times, which has multiple sources compared to the history of ancient times, attempts at silence on crucial points relating to the ‘inconvenient past’ of the ruling party are obviously politically motivated,” said Kishore Darak, an independent researcher in curriculum and textbooks based in Pune.
School Education Minister Vinod Tawde’s office refused to comment, saying that Balbharati director Sunil Magar would issue a statement. Asked about the allegations, Magar said they would be placed before the subject committee. “The committee will deliberate on it and take a decision,” he said.