Row Over Assam Dropping Chapters On Nehru Policies From Class 12 Syllabus

The chapters were deleted by the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) under measures taken to reduce the course-load on students on account of the loss of academic schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress in Assam has lodged strong protests against dropping of chapters on Jawaharlal Nehru.

The Congress in Assam has lodged strong protests against dropping of chapters on Jawaharlal Nehru's policies, Ayodhya dispute and the Gujarat riots from the Class 12 syllabus of the state board.

The chapters were deleted by the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) under measures taken to reduce the course-load on students on account of the loss of academic schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leader of the opposition Debabrata Saikia wrote a letter to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, urging him to instruct the AHSEC to retain certain chapters, pertaining to the policies and contribution Jawaharlal Nehru.

Mr Saikia said that any step to ease the workload of the students would have been welcome but the choice of chapters dropped was questionable.

He cited the dropping of chapters on Jawahar Lal Nehru's foreign policy and "Garibi Hatao" campaign initiated by former Prime minister Mrs Indira Gandhi.

"Any unbiased person would concede that Pandit Nehru laid the foundation of modern India by laying emphasis on industrialization of the country via scientific technology. Similarly, Pandit Nehru had signed the Panchasheel Agreement with China and the neighbouring country had recently stated that it still wants bilateral ties based on that pact," he said in the letter.

Mr Saikia said that Jawaharlal Nehru continues to garner global respect for spearheading the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War.

"Even political opponents like Bharat Ratna Atal Behari Vajpayee and the incumbent Defence Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh publicly acknowledged Pandit Nehru's unparalleled contribution to nation building and nurturing of democratic values," Mr Saikia said in the letter.

Mr Saikia added that "everyone had noticed a concerted campaign by a certain section over the past few years to tarnish the image of Jawaharlal Nehru and negate his contribution to the nation."

"There is ground to suspect that this force is behind the AHSEC's decision to drop chapters about Pandit Nehru from the curriculum," Mr Saikia said, adding that as such the AHSEC needed to be directed to drop some other chapters, and retain those mentioned in the letter.

The topics have been cut short in all the subjects of the three streams- Science, Arts and Commerce.

In a document uploaded on the official website, AHSCE Secretary Manoranjan Kakati had said that syllabus has been slashed to reduce the exam stress on the students for the current academic year.

"This syllabi is only the reduced portion for the preparation of upcoming final exams of Higher Secondary 1st and 2nd year to be held in 2021," Mr Kakati had said.

The topics on implementation of the Mandal Commission report (on job quota for OBC), Punjab crisis and the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the central governments under the United Front, earlier regimes of NDA and UPA, Ayodhya dispute, Gujarat riots, famine and suspension of five-year plans, have also been dropped.

Not only in the political science, for the sociology paper, the struggle for women equality, minority rights and nation-building, panchayati raj and challenges of social transformation, globalisation and social change, land reforms and tribal movements have also been dropped.