Six lakh signatures presented to the President
Sum, signed by six lakh school students, their parents and teachers with the plea to take up the matter of communalisation of education with the UPA government, was presented to the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in New Delhi on January 19 by an eight-member delegation, led by Shri Dinanath Batra, convener of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (SBAS).
The Samiti, in the memorandum, alleged that education had thoroughly been politicised by the UPA government. “This government does not believe in the importance of value-based education. While the framework places great reliance on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Sub-committee on value education and integration in all disciplines of social sciences and a healthy instrumental process which could promote secularism and multi-cultural dialogue, the UPA government wants to revert to discarded ideas contained in the pamphlets of communists,” said the memorandum, further adding that men and women were being appointed by the HRD Minister to committees and other responsible positions without considering their talents. “Their political affiliation is all that matters to the HRD Minister. Autonomy of institutions like NCERT, the IIMs and the IITs has been destroyed. All kinds of statements are being issued with a view to rapidly distance the State from education and throw open this vital area to commercial exploits. This is nothing but a grand compromise in the national goal of promoting equality and social justice,” added the memorandum.
The Samiti alleged that the UPA government was guided by the Stalinist maxim:‘The winning side writes history’. “Its first task on assumption of office was to banish the well-written and academically-sound history textbooks introduced under Frame 2000. The old ones, which contained a lot of discarded facts and interpretations, have been reintroduced in defiance of the orders of the Rajasthan High Court and indeed the government’s own stated position. Soon, we fear new books will be introduced which will deprive our youth of a healthy understanding of their nation’s past,” it said, adding that “an emasculated society will result if this government is not persuaded to abandon its disastrous policies and involve all sections of the people in a healthy dialogue.”
The SBAS also appealed to the President to order the HRD Minister to halt his campaign against Prof. J.S. Rajput, the former Director of NCERT, who is being humiliated at the advice of a particular political group.