Aruna Roy, civil activist and one of the key campaigners of the Right to Information movement, came down heavily on the Rajasthan government on Sunday after reports that the RTI chapter has been removed from social sciences curriculum and class 8 textbook of state schools.
In an open letter to chief secretary CS Rajan, Roy and Nikhil Dey (another key activist from the RTI movement) expressed their disbelief over the reported removal of the RTI chapter and said, “In the hurry to rewrite history and manipulate textbooks for political reasons, the government is hurting the sentiments of ordinary people, burying the truth, and actually attempting to obliterate acknowledgement of a contribution that should be of pride to the whole state.” Rajasthan was the first state to organise a civil movement demanding RTI act.
Attaching a copy of the RTI chapter published in the previous class 8 textbook to the letter, Roy criticised the Vasundhara Raje-led government for introducing various other changes in the newly-published textbooks, saying changes in the curriculum suggests bias of the political “rulers”.
“The process of writing and re-writing textbooks cannot be the arbitrary prerogative of the ruling political party, but must be left to an independent process dependent on a dialogue between academics. We are also aware that serious questions have been raised about the cost of reprinting textbooks and the concurrent difficulty for children to access them.”
Roy demanded the alleged changes in the textbooks be put on hold, and an open dialogue be established on the need to amend them.