The removal of references to Jawaharlal Nehru in Rajasthan’s Class VIII textbook drew strong reactions from the Congress in the Upper House on Tuesday, even as the government dubbed the move as a correction of the academic wrongs committed in the past.
First reported by The Indian Express on May 8, the new Social Science textbook for Class VIII has virtually erased Nehru from the pages of history. The matter was raised in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday by Congress member Rajeev Shukla, who accused the BJP of rewriting the country’s history by deleting names of Congress icons from textbooks and rechristening roads, airports and government schemes named after them.
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“When we were in power, we did not change the schemes named after Deen Dayal Upadhyaya,” Shukla said. “The Civil Aviation minister is here. I would like him to clarify whether there is a proposal for pilots to announce just the name of the city at the time of landing and not the airport to avoid perpetuating the names of our leaders in collective memory,” he said.
“You promote your icons, but let ours be. You can’t stop children from accessing information in this age. If you erase it from textbooks, they will find out from the internet. You are only vitiating the education environment.”
Leading the government’s defence, MoS Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said, “The issue raised by him (Shukla) is serious. But let me assure that no names (of leaders) are being erased or hidden. In fact, we are only adding names of those icons sidelined by your government in the past.”