Under pressure from minority communities and the Opposition, the state government on Tuesday repealed its notification dated August 1, 2013 regarding inclusion of lessons from the Bhagavad Gita in Urdu textbooks of Class 1 and 2.
The government feared the decision would have a negative impact on the BJP's poll prospects in the election year.
HT was the first to report the matter on Sunday after which the minority communities and the Opposition attacked the government and blamed it for making attempts to saffronise education. Under attack from several quarters, the state government made a last-ditch attempt to justify its decision on Monday.
What compelled the government to retract its decision was the refusal of Muslim community representatives to attend the Roza Iftar party organised at the CM House on Tuesday evening. The representatives who included Shahar Qazis from other cities including Indore, Jabalpur, Ratlam etc were peeved at the notification and turned down the invitation.
The participation of Shahar Qazi of Bhopal Mushtaq Nadvi in the Iftar party would have tilted the slides in the government's favour. Hence, the state government tried to placate Nadvi throughout Tuesday morning to make him change his mind.
In the afternoon, Nadvi and Mufti of Bhopal Syed Babar Hasan met the CM at the request of MP Minority Commission chairman Anwar Mohd Khan. During the interaction they also raised other issues affecting the community.
Later, in a hurriedly-called media briefing at Vallabh Bhavan, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, "The state government has decided to repeal the notification which led to an unnecessary controversy and confusion that the Bhagavad Gita would be taught in madarsas."
The CM, however, added that the Bhagavad Gita lessons in Hindi textbooks would not be revoked.
The CM's announcement elated the minority communities leaders especially Shahar Qazi Bhopal Mushtaq Nadvi. For, the message went out to Muslim community from his camp that it was he who exerted utmost pressure on the government to concede to their demand.
"I am happy to know about the government's decision. I have conveyed the community's feelings to the government. Now, I hope, the books (that contained lessons from the Bhagavad Gita) would be withdrawn from the madarsas," Nadvi told HT.
The state Congress spokesperson Abhay Dubey said the government's decision was the victory of social values and defeat of the BJP.
Chapters to be retained in Hindi books
The state government's decision to repeal its notification dated August 1 means withdrawal of chapters on the Bhagavad Gita tenets not only from Special Urdu (Class 1-2) textbooks but also from Special English (Class 1-2) and general Hindi textbooks (Class 3-8). Since, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the chapters would be retained in Hindi textbooks, the school education department would have to take a fresh decision and get another notification issued to the effect.