Two books that were part of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan were permanently withdrawn by the state government on Tuesday as they allegedly contained objectionable content material on Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj and Sant Tukaram. The Maharashtra State Council of Education, Research and Training (Academic Authority) issued a circular withdrawing the two books, which were provided to students in government-run schools under the Ekbhashik Purak Wachan Pustak Yojana of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. These books had been placed on temporary suspension. Education officers have also been instructed to put all other books supplied under this scheme on hold until an expert committee reviews all of them. One of the two books is Samarth Shri Ramdas Swami, which was written by Shubha Sathe and published by MSCERT. The book states that Sambhaji Maharaj was addicted to alcohol and fell in bad company.
The other book is Santache Jeevan Prasang, written by Gopinath Talwalkar, which allegedly had objectionable references to Sant Tukaram and his wife. Last week, both books had received strong criticism from opposition parties, the Sambhaji Brigade and other outfits. The Maharashtra Education Department then appointed a three-member expert committee and put the books under temporary suspension.
On Tuesday, Sunil Magar, director of the Maharashtra Academic Authority, issued a press note stating that the books have been withdrawn, after the expert committee, in its report, said the books had “objectionable material”. “The government took the complaints seriously and an expert committee of historians, including Dr Sadanand More, Dr Ganesh Raut and Pandurang Balkavde, was constituted to look into these complaints and based on their report, the books have now been permanently withdrawn,” said Magar.
All district education officers have been asked to collect the two books by October 26 and store it at the district level before further instructions are issued. The district education officers have also been informed that since all other books supplied under the scheme are now under review, they should not be provided to students until further instructions.