The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has introduced a poem by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in a Class VIII textbook after it was advised by the government to explore ways of immortalising his contributions and achievements.
Vajpayee’s poem “Kadam Milakar Chalna Hoga (We Have To Walk Together)” is now part of the Hindi textbook, Vasant, which carries essays, poems and short stories by renowned writers such as Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Harishankar Parsai and Ismat Chughtai. The poem is an appeal to countrymen to walk together, irrespective of difficulties, for a better tomorrow.
The revised textbook will hit the shelves in March before the new session. It’s not clear whether any existing content has been removed to accommodate the new poem. NCERT Director Hrushikesh Senapaty did not respond to an email sent by The Indian Express.
Vajpayee died on August 16 last year. Since then, the Centre and BJP governments in the states have commemorated his memory by naming schemes after him.
As part of this effort, the HRD Ministry had asked NCERT to explore the inclusion of achievements associated with his years of prime ministership. Till then, Vajpayee was only mentioned in the Class XII Political Science textbook, Politics in India Since Independence. The NCERT is then learnt to have introduced his poem as part of its ongoing revision of textbooks.
This is the second textbook review undertaken under this government. Under the first exercise in 2017, NCERT made 1,334 changes, which included additions, correction and update of data in 182 textbooks. The second revision is aimed at rationalising curriculum to reduce burden on students. Vajpayee’s poem has been introduced as part of this exercise.