‘Textbook contents must not be decided by executive’

This establishes the kind of precedent that should be avoided.

Written by Express News Service | Published: May 16, 2012 12:23 am

A group of well-known scholars has called on the government not to tamper with the contents of academic syllabi on “executive discretion” as was being done in the matter relating to a review of political cartoons in textbooks.

A statement by Romila Thapar,Prabhat Patnaik,Zoya Hasan,Ram Rahman,Jayati Ghosh and Mushirul Hasan,among others,said they were concerned about HRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s statement that an ‘offensive’ cartoon in a Class XI textbook would be removed. “Whatever the merits of the case against the cartoon,the matter should not be treated as one of mere executive discretion,” the statement said.

“This establishes the kind of precedent that should be avoided. Such issues are bound to come up from time to time,therefore appropriate procedures have to be followed,such as the setting up of a committee of academics to look into each case,so that summary judgments of ministers concerned,under political pressures of various kinds,do not determine the contents of our academic syllabi.”

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