Letter from a Cow and a lot of Chittor: New in Rajasthan textbooks

The new books by the Rajasthan government mention PM Modi's Mann ki Baat and Swachh Bharat Mission along with tales from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Syllabus to inculcate ‘traditional indian’ values.

Written by Mahim Pratap Singh | Jaipur | Updated: May 16, 2016 9:14 am
nehru, jawaharlal nehru, rajasthan, jawaharlal nehru textbook, rajasthan textbook nehru, nehru textbook row, rajasthan school book nehru, rajasathan news, india news, latest news The previous textbooks were adapted from books on the same subjects by the NCERT; the new ones have been re-structured by the Udaipur-based State Institute of Education Research and Training.

The newly re-structured school curriculum in Rajasthan — which, as reported first by The Sunday Express on May 8, makes only a cursory mention of Jawaharlal Nehru and fails to identify him as India’s first Prime Minister — reflects a strong emphasis on moral education based on “traditional Indian” values through its Social Science, Hindi and English textbooks. Books up to Class 8 have been uploaded on the web site of the Rajasthan Rajya Pathyapustak Mandal; books for Classes 9 and above are expected to be made available ahead of the new academic session that begins in about a fortnight. This is broadly what’s new in the new books.

Read |  Jawaharlal Nehru erased from Rajasthan school textbook

What has changed?

The previous textbooks were adapted from books on the same subjects by the NCERT; the new ones have been re-structured by the Udaipur-based State Institute of Education Research and Training. They mention Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly Mann Ki Baat radio address and his yoga and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan projects. They are also packed with tales of saints and religious figures, poems and essays on themes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, success stories of “ancient Indian Science”, chapters on nationalism and local heroes, and even an autobiographical letter from a cow to students of class V.

Read | Rajasthan Minister says textbook has Nehru; yes, as ‘presenter’, ‘inaugurator’ 

Chittorgarh everywhere

The one addition that dominates syllabi across subjects, be it Hindi, English or Social Science, is Chittor, or rather the theme of Mewar, incorporating stories and poems about Maharana Pratap. Textbooks of Classes 2 to 8 are full of chapters, poems or exercises on Maharana Pratap and Chittorgarh.

The erstwhile Rajput kingdom of Mewar, with its capital at Chittorgarh, constitutes, along with Udaipur, Bhilwara, Pratapgarh and Rajsamand, the cultural-linguistic region of Mewar in Rajasthan today. Highlighting the Hindu history of Mewar has been an important part of the BJP government’s effort to throw light on the “veer and veerangana” of Rajasthan.

Read | Turning a page: How textbooks are used to teach (a new) history

Besides Pratap, two other Mewar stories are featured: one on the famous sacrifice of Mewar ruler Udai Singh’s nurse Panna Dhai, and the other on Mangarh Dham, the Bhil tribal memorial where about 1,500 Bhils were massacred by the British in 1913.

Both the BJP and Congress have tried to appropriate Mangarh Dham to seize the significant tribal vote in the region. The incumbent BJP government held a grand celebration at the site last year, which was attended by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje among other dignitaries.

Pratap over Akbar

Chittorgarh, rather all of Mewar, has been central to the government’s campaign of stoking “local” pride in Rajasthan, with Maharana Pratap as its most visible icon. The push for Pratap has been accompanied by an effort to downplay or discredit the Mughal Emperor Akbar — seen in repeated arguments for rejecting his description as “Great”, which was popular with an older generation of historians. Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani, Higher Education Minister Kalicharan Saraf and even union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, have all lamented the alleged ignoring of Maharana Pratap in textbooks in favour of Akbar.

Two of the three kings most commonly cited for their resistance to Muslim rulers — Rana Sanga and Maharana Pratap — were from Mewar; the third, Prithviraj Chauhan, was from Ajmer. The new Social Science textbook says: “Rulers of Mewar posed the most stiff resistance to the Mughals.”

Sangh attention

At the meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the RSS’s highest decision making body, in Nagaur earlier this year, a detailed picture gallery highlighting contributions by Maharana Pratap was showcased. The RSS’s hold on Mewar is very strong — IAS officer Ashok Singhvi, accused in a multi-crore bribery scam, had reportedly threatened the late mining baron Sher Khan with fake threats in the Sangh’s name to extract bribes.

WATCH: Nehru erased from Rajasthan school textbook

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  1. A
    Amit
    May 16, 2016 at 10:14 am
    "autobigraphical letter from a cow to students of cl V" I can clearly see the future of India.
    Reply
    1. A
      Anil Kumar
      May 17, 2016 at 3:53 pm
      'Autobiography of a cow' it's not a new thing,in our school days when there was not even the name BJP existent,we have gone through such contents.Its a form of essay writing. Now a days- cow and hindu- words itself have become to create hue and cry among a section and start bing anyone as bhakt in support for it.Certainly Indian history is not written in right context all the time and if efforts are being made to correct, its good.
      Reply
      1. R
        RAJEEV AGRAWAL
        May 18, 2016 at 5:59 am
        It is a very good step to make new generation aware about the significance of desi cows. It should not be related to any religion. We must give respect to all religions.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;There should be all around awareness programme to make people understand the significance of Indian desi cow. Indian desi cow (not jersey cow or any other breed) has the superior and spiritual (not religious) value including her product like Milk, and Gobar. There is direct link between her and mother earth. The peace and prosperity can be achieved on the earth by serving the desi cows. Therefore, service to Indian desi cow should not be linked to any religion. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Her is used to cure dreaded disease like Cancer, AIDS and many other type of disease and her gobar can be used as an alternative source of energy through gobar plant for generating gas for cooking, gas for generating electricity and gas for running the vehicles etc. Gobar and also used as best available fertilizer and insecticides. Unfortunately chemical fertilizer and poisonous insecticides are used which is not only producing harmful crops but polluting ground water used for drinking purpose. Indian desi cows are the backbone of organic agriculture, instrumental for environment protection, healthcare and peace and prosperity on earth. In short she is the backbone of human welfare.lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;We must work hard and target to bring law on complete ban on desi cow slaughter in the country through awareness programme, legal and political course. In order to achieve peace and prosperity on the Earth, we must bring a law for complete ban on slaughter of desi cow, including calf and bulls. lt;br/gt;Er. Rajeev
        Reply
        1. K
          Karan Gupta
          Jun 9, 2016 at 2:36 am
          Even your Mother tastes delicious
          Reply
          1. K
            Karan Gupta
            Jun 9, 2016 at 2:31 am
            Really, I don't think you really are a scientists. Had you been a scientist you would have known beef industry is major contributor to global warming. The amount of resources wasted on producing beef for one person could feed more than 10 people. So from a scientific point of view and global warming point of view beef industry is dangerous to environment
            Reply
            1. M
              Madhav Aggarwal
              May 16, 2016 at 7:53 pm
              The emphasis on regional leaders is good but the denigrading of other great contributors of Indian history like Akbar, Nehru is equally bad. I fail to understand how BJP doesn't understand that to be a pan India party they need to take every section along. lt;br/gt;P.S. the issue may be exaggerated as Indian express has tended to blow out of proportion lately!
              Reply
              1. M
                Manish Garg
                May 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm
                Two of the three kings most commonly cited for their resistance to Muslim rulers — Rana Sanga and Maharana Pratap — were from Mewar; the third, Prithviraj Chauhan, was from Ajmer
                Reply
                1. V
                  Varghese
                  May 18, 2016 at 6:32 am
                  Nice comment Rajeev. Good luck with and gobar of your 'desi cow'. For some reasons I realize that the excrete of your desi cow should be preserved and served to all those who believe in its magic. I am a senior scientist by profession and I am surprised by the black- in the minds to our educated cl. Hope India will come out of this hypocrisy and learn to accept reality with any religious bias.
                  Reply
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