Amidst a shrinking space for Gandhian ideals, the Congress led Rajasthan government has announced a renewed set of pushbacks to propagate the Gandhian ideology, while extending Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations, on since last year, until October 2, 2021.
The propagation formally began last year. In March 2019, a 41 member state level committee, led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, was constituted by the state government. The task of this committee, which mainly had Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, apart from ministers and top bureaucrats, was to decide the programmes and activities for the 150th birth anniversary celebrations. The Committee also had members such as Gandhian SN Subba Rao, apart from other Gandhians of note from across the state as well as outside.
Chairing the second meeting of the committee over the weekend here, Gehlot said, “Gandhi ji himself is a vast topic and his relevance has grown in present times.” Hoping to inculcate the Gandhian ideals in youngsters, the CM announced “special classes by Gandhian thinkers and experts in schools.” Catching the kids young is a key aspect of the government’s aim to propagate Gandhian ideals.
Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Govind Singh Dotasra, said that these sessions will be organised on Saturdays, which were declared ‘No Bag Day’ by Gehlot in his budget speech this year. Dotasra said lectures will be delivered by Gandhian experts on these days.
This academic session, book titled ‘Azaadi ke Baad ka Swarnim Bharat’ (Golden India after Independence), divided in two parts, will be distributed free of cost to Class XI and XII students, respectively. The first book talks of Drain of Wealth as well as the freedom struggle. Last two of the total five chapters in the book talk of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru: his ideology, scientific view, and economic planning. Dotasra said that the second book talks about “great men who brought the nation on path of development with Gandhian thought.” The books are compulsory and will be part of the examinations. However, marks will be added to the results only for Class XI results. Along with two other books, which list role of brave Rajasthani men and women, they will replace four books added during the previous Vasundhara Raje government, the minister said.
Then, Gandhi Vichar Sanksar Pariksha — an examination to test knowledge about Gandhi, was launched last year, and was open to students of Class IX and XI. As many as 1.32 lakh students took part in the objective examination held in December. The 60 questions in the examination paper included questions about minute details of Gandhi’s life. The toppers in each district are to be given a scooty, laptop and bicycle – although it has been delayed due to Covid–19 pandemic. This year, the examination was scheduled for August 9, on August Kranti divas, but has been postponed due to the pandemic. It will be held “soon”, says Dotasra.
Dotasra also said that Mahatma Gandhi Pustakalya and Vachanalya Yojana (Mahatma Gandhi public libraries and reading rooms) which was initially launched by Gehlot government in 2012, was shut by Raje government. These will now be restarted, he said, so that “people can gain knowledge through these libraries again.” As per Dotasra, books on Gandhi have also been made available to each school.
Last July, Mahatma Gandhi English Medium schools were also announced and initially there was one in each of the 33 districts. So, they have been set up in 167 blocks of the state – the remaining 134 blocks have Swami Vivekanand Government Model School. Among other measures in place, the government maintains a dedicated website on Gandhi, which was launched in October last year. Plans to make a Gandhi model village, in each district, is also underway. Among other things, no liquor or tobacco will be sold in these villages.
CM Gehlot also announced that The Peace and Non-Violence Cell, constituted on October 2 last year, will now be a full-fledged department. Retired IAS officer SS Bissa, who is the coordinator of the Cell, said. “The idea behind constitution of the Cell was to deliberate on how the Gandhian ideology reaches the schools, colleges and the common man.”
In Jaipur, until the pandemic struck, its members had been propagating Gandhi ideology through presentations and Gandhi film in government schools, colleges, madrasas, etc. They have now shifted to webinars. In districts, the Cell propagates the ideology with the help of Gandhi Darshan Samitis, which already exist under the Art and Culture Department.
Govt cancels college, university exams
Meanwhile, PTI reported that the Rajasthan government has decided to cancel all examinations of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in universities, colleges and technical educational institutions in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision was taken at a high-level review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday night.
Students will be promoted to the next class without any examination, they said. A decision on determination of the students’ marks will be taken after a study of the guidelines to be issued by the Union HRD Ministry in the next few days, Technical Education Minister Subhash Garg said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines