?BEGINNING on July 2, 2004 the Shiksha Bachao Andolan, with the active support of the society, has successfully exhorted people to think about the history being taught to their children in schools and reject the distortion by vested historians outright. Apart from grilling the government in the court, a debate has also begun all over the country about the content of the textbooks. The overall three years efforts of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti has produced overwhelming results,? said Shri Atul Kothari, co-convener of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti.
He pointed out that with the formation of a national committee in Delhi, 29 other committees were formed at the Prant level involving over 450 workers of various organisations. ?We are basically conducting three kinds of activities?awareness, agitation and legal battle. On the front of awareness campaign, a total of 41 booklets were published. Five booklets were published with the help of other organisations. These booklets are being sent to over 5,500 intellectuals. Lakhs of pamphlets were also distributed, more than 500 symposiums were held in which more than one lakh people participated,? he said.
About the agitation, he said two big agitational programmes were held at the central level including dharna, demonstrations, meetings, etc. At both the times people from 15 to 22 Prants participated. In some Prants agitations were held even at the district and Sambhag level. Fifty other programmes of dharnas and demonstrations were held against the distortions in history textbooks of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Sixty-five workers had been put behind the bars for two to nine days for shouting slogans at the meeting of Central Education Council in Vigyan Bhavan. Demonstrations were held at different places in the country against this injustice, he added.
About the legal battle Shri Kothari said a case was filed in Jaipur high court in 2004, which stayed the attempt of NCERT to change the syllabus in middle of the session. The petition filed in Alwar court also forced the NCERT to remove the objectionable passages about Lord Mahavira and Jains from the textbooks. The cases in Chandigarh, Allahabad and Delhi high courts are still going on. A case has also been filed in Delhi separately against the objectionable paintings by M.F. Hussein. The Samiti had filed objections against 75 passages of history books by NCERT. The court has directed the NCERT to remove 67 passages and the NCERT has now assured the court to remove the remaining eight passages also by April 2008. It was due to the massive agitation against the distortion in history books of IGNOU that the HRD Minister had to announce the removal of the objectionable passage in Parliament itself within three days, he said.
Following a legal notice served against the distortion in history books in correspondence course of Delhi University, the objectionable passages were removed. Earlier the NCERT syllabus used to be followed in all the north Indian states, but with the efforts of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, three states refused to implement the NCERT syllabus.
The Samiti has also launched a massive agitation against sex education to be imparted in schools by HRD Ministry and National AIDS Control Organisation. Under the signature campaign launched against it more than five lakh signatures have been collected. A book entitled Red Alert has also been distributed for awareness. Efforts are being made to raise questions in the assemblies of different states and the Parliament of the country. So far the governments of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have refused to impart sex education in their respective states.
?By and large with the efforts of the Samiti the issue of distortion of history has been discussed in both the Houses of Parliament. The people of Jat community too started an agitation following which the HRD Minister assured to remove the objectionable passage about them. The government also had to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of Prof. Yashpal to look into the Hindi books. Similarly when the Education Minister of Karnataka while inaugurating a seminar organised by Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti in Bangalore, described Tipu Sultan as anti-Kannada, some so-called Muslim and leftist leaders started making hue and cry. But finally they all had to accept the truth. Most of the issues that the Samiti took up in these three years were resolved positively. But the agitation will not stop till all the issues are resolved,? Shri Kothari added. (FOC)