Detrimental deletions from CBSE Syllabus aimed at clearing ground for Hindu Rashtra’ : AIFRTE

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‘Detrimental Deletions from CBSE Syllabus aimed at clearing ground for Hindu Rashtra. ’Exclusion of citizenship chapter is a direct affront to the powerful anti-CAA movement led by elderly Muslim women

 By Abdul Bari Masoud

 New Delhi: All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE), a coalition of hundreds of  education organizations,  on Monday Condemned on the detrimental deletion of syllabus pertaining to people’ struggles and scientific attitude from the CBSE Syllabus. It alleged that the deletions are aimed at clearing the ground for advocating the Hindutva concept of the Hindu Rashtra for which the present regime is aggressively working.

The Union Human Resource Development Ministry has affected significant deletions in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Syllabus for Classes 9 to 12 under the pretext of ‘Rationalisation’ of Syllabus.  The decision attracted sharp criticism from the several quarters which termed it as a part of RSS agenda to turn the country into a ‘Hindutva rashtra’.

On July 7, 2020,   the HRD ministry made significant deletions from the CBSE syllabus for secondary and senior secondary classes for the academic year 2020-21, removing from its purview chapters and subject matter relating to important movements, events, concepts and values that are central to understanding the character and goals of modern India’s social, cultural and political life.

Sharply reacting on it, Prof Jagmohan Singh, Chairperson, AIFRTE, said  the move is  with a goal to clear the ground for advocating the Hindutva concept of the Hindu Rashtra as the present  government is aggressively working for it.

 Prof Singh warned that if this concept of “Hindu supremacy, veneration of the State and unchallenged adulation and obedience to a Supreme Leader is to be successfully promoted, and then it would alter the whole narrative of contemporary Indian nationhood and citizenship.”

“For the concept of “Hindu supremacy, it is essential that the Indian people and in particular the children and youth be indoctrinated in a narrative that is completely different from the actual experience and history of the people’s struggles that have contributed to the making of contemporary Indian nationhood and citizenship.”

The present government at the center has launched a dangerous two-pronged attack on the education system. On the one hand, on  June 24, 2020, it has handed over to the World Bank the privilege of designing the structure, training and governance of the entire system of school education from early childhood care and education (ECCE) to Class XII to facilitate its conversion into a privatized, commercialized and corporatized system instead of strengthening it as a free and compulsory system of public education as required by the Constitution.

 Dr. Vikas Gupta, Organizing Secretary of the Forum, also warned that   the truncated CBSE syllabus announced by the Center constitutes a “dangerous ideological” step towards consolidating its anti-people, anti-Constitution and anti-national agenda.

Therefore, it must be the focus of our nation-wide resistance against the fascist Hindutva- cum-neoliberal capitalist assault on our Constitutional Rights and values as reflected in the sphere of Education, just as the anti-CAA movement fought for our Constitutional Rights on the question of citizenship, Dr Gupta averred.

He pointed out that “it is well-known that the RSS ideologues have opposed the Darwinian Theory of evolution, contending that there is no reference to such an idea in the ancient Hindu scriptures!”

Under the notion of so-called “rationalization”, the Constitutional commitment to a secular notion of citizenship, in which every citizen’s voice and every democratic opinion is deserving of consideration, is deleted.

 Dr Gupta pointed out that the exclusion of the section on citizenship is a direct affront to the powerful movement led by elderly women of the minority Muslim community against The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 which unconstitutionally links citizenship to religion.

With the Tricolour and the Constitution as its dominant icons, it drew wider and wider sections of the population into its ambit in huge peaceful protests across the country against the Modi government’s assault on the very basis of the Constitutional concept of citizenship.  He noted that the suddenly imposed official “lockdown” may have been the only way for the Modi government to stop the spread of the agitation, but the issues that it has raised will have to be tackled transparently and through public debate.

The question cannot be settled by authoritarian measures such as arresting and refusing bail under the draconian UAPA to students, activists and citizens who joined the movement in their thousands, he asked.

Union HRD Minister Dr.Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has tried to justify this reduction by almost 30% due to the Covid-19 crisis. He even claimed that many of the changes are only for this one year because the schools have been closed for three months already.

The minister also claimed that 1500 suggestions for this so-called “rationalization” of the syllabus had been received from “educationists” revealing that the move was neither unplanned nor motivated only by the need to reduce the workload for this year’s examinations.

Prof Singh, however, said nobody would believe what the minister claimed because of this government’s opaque methods.

“Given the present regime’s non-transparent method of `consulting’ with both `experts’ and lay persons, this so-called “rationalization” of the syllabus has remained impervious to sharp public critiques by educationists, activists and political leaders and groups.”

 Their diverse and well informed opinions were obviously not regarded as being worthwhile enough to be taken into account, he added.

The pattern of the exclusions makes it only too evident why this has been the case possibly because of the ideological bias of the present regime towards a Unitarian “Akhand Bharat”, he further added

 He said AIFRTE appeals to all  its member and associate and fraternal organizations to condemn and resist the Government’s “nefarious attempts to commercialize, communalize and centralize education”.

We will not let the government to prop up “fascist RSS/Hindutva and neo-liberal capitalism’s ideological indoctrination through a deformed and multi-layered system of privatized and corporatized schools, colleges and universities and other educational institutions, Prof Singh said.

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