Many prominent Haryana leaders will no longer figure in primary class textbooks.
Under the government’s plan, a chapter titled Haryana ke Gaurav in a class V Hindi textbook that highlighted achievements of leaders like Sir Chotu Ram, Ranbir Singh Hooda, Devi Lal and Bansi Lal has been removed. Instead, in class IV, a chapter titled Gaurav Gatha has been introduced, which contains achievements of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai and Lokmanya Tilak to name a few.
Haryana ke Gaurav was introduced in the textbook during the tenure of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2011.
The issue is being viewed politically as the deleted chapter contained relatives of many prominent leaders in the Opposition. Ranbir Singh Hooda is the father of B S Hooda, Bansi Lal was a former CM of Haryana and father-in-law of leader of Congress Legislature Party Kiran Choudhry, Devi Lal was also a CM and grandfather of Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha Abhay Singh Chautala. Union Minister of Rural Development Birender Singh is the grandson of Sir Chottu Ram.
Former Haryana education minister and Congress party member Geeta Bhukkal said that updating textbooks is welcome. “However, if the books were to be changed, then instead of deleting chapters, some information could have been added. We got the chapter on the local leaders added to let the school children know about the recent history of the state and legacy of its leaders. There is information available about freedom fighters of the country in other chapters already,” said Bhukkal.
A senior official of Haryana government said that the books were changed following recommendations by a committee that had members of NCERT and SCERT. The official said that the books were changed keeping in mind the pattern followed by NCERT and not looking at any political considerations. The new books were approved by the Haryana CM, he added.
Additional Chief Secretary, Home, P K Das who was recently additional charge of school education department said that he was not aware of the changes and would look into it.
Lashing out at the government INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said that the BJP government is unnecessarily creating a controversy over the issue. “The government has removed the names of leaders who have contributed to the development of Haryana. They are deliberately tampering with the syllabus so that people turn to the path of agitation. The children who go to school in Haryana should know the contribution of its leaders, their struggle,” he said.
General secretary of Rajkiya Prathmik Shiksha Sangh, Deepak Goswami, said that school students should be taught history of their own state and its leaders. He said, “The syllabus that was followed in Kendriya Vidyalayas has been implemented for Haryana schools. The references to local places and people is missing. Teachers who are teaching these classes should have been made part of the committee.”