By Tirthankar Mitra
Deletion of portions pertaining to aftermath of assassination of Mahatma Gandhi from class 12 students curriculum of their political science texts goes against the spirit of argumentative democracy of the nation. The chop and change of National Education Policy (NEP) goes against its promise to throw open windows and not to bang them close.
The man who is looked upto as Father of the Nation has been an apostle of non-violence throughout his life. Yet he died a violent death.
It indeed had a calming effect on a truncated nation in which people who had been neighbours for generation were at each other’s throat in the name of religion. The division of the country on religious lines had seen to it.
One is tempted to know whether the independence of the country achieved through unarmed struggle and armed revolution will be in the pruning list next. For the frail man who fell to an assasin’s bullet had piloted one of the major streams of the independence movement.
In Mahatma’s own words ” My life is my message.” So was his death and it’s aftermath too. Mahatma Gandhi was a mortal, an extraordinary one. He had gone the way of all flesh. All passings have their effects. Even though the world mourned with India, this death and it’s fallout ought to be no exception.
Curriculum reforms need to be in step with reality. To achieve this end steps cannot be taken which are tantamount to the retreat of rational thinking. The changes do not update the students with the shifts in polity and society. On the other hand, they are ushering in blind
spots and blinkers.
The recent revisions do not address such gaps. Instead they create blank spaces which may be unpleasant to a school of political thought but remain facts all the same. The deletions have been justified as part of an endeavour to reduce the load on students. This makes no sense.
On the other hand, it indicates discomfiture with the turning points of history. Deletions notwithstanding, it will continue to resonate in the heart and minds of millions. The deletion process is something from which the NEP should have kept at arm’s length. It is opaque.
The fact that unpalatable truths cannot be escaped has been binned. The students cannot be prevented from taking a critical view of history. The revisions do the NEP a disservice. It threatens to distort historical developments. The present ruling party at the centre has no right to ignore some of the major developments in the nation’s history to suit their political interests. (IPA Service)