The Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education has decided to remove a chapter on noted painter MF Husain from the Class XI Hindi textbook prescribed by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
The chapter will be removed from the next academic session as the Himachal board feels that “M.F. Husain’s life as a painter has nothing to inspire, nor his works as a painter can be discussed with the students’’.
The chapter on Husain was being taught in the state schools for the past two years. According to sources, since the school textbook carrying the chapter on Husain has already been published for the academic session 2009-2010, the board has instructed schools not to consider the chapter from the next session.
The board is instead considering incorporation of a chapter on world famous Himachal-based painter Sobha Singh in the Class XI Hindi syllabus, the sources said. Sobha Singh’s art gallery is in Andretta village in Kangra district. His paintings on Sikh gurus have won international acclaim, and he was conferred Padma Shri in 1983.
“What is there in MF Husain’s life or paintings which needs to be taught to the students?’’ asked Himachal board chairman Chaman Lal Gupta. He told Hindustan Times that the state’s board for school education has decided to remove the chapter on Husain in view of objections and complaints from different sections, including teachers. “Following this we had constituted a Subject Committee, which came out with a recommendation that M.F. Husain as a painter does not offer anything to the students. Otherwise also, his paintings cannot be discussed with students,” Gupta said. He said a chapter on Sobha Singh or on (Russian-born) Nikolai Roerich would be more meaningful for students of Himachal Pradesh.
Gupta said the board can change the NCERT syllabi by 25 per cent, according to the state’s requirements. “The previous authorities in the state board had decided to follow the NCERT syllabi in toto but we do not agree. Even the NCERT history books for some classes, which are being taught in state schools, are not up to the mark. For example, there are three history books for the eighth standard, which include a history of cricket. How meaningful is this? There were complaints about this as well, so we have decided to go in for a review by making a Subject Committee to look into the issue and come out with specific recommendations,’’ Gupta said.