Artist Maqbool Fida Husain may have had to leave the country, worried about the innumerable cases against him, but he will not be expunged from the Class XI Hindi textbooks set by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
Despite objections raised by the BJP and the RSS, an expert panel has decided to keep Husain’s biographical sketch in the Hindi elective textbook, and Punjabi writer Avtar Singh Pasha’s poem in the main Hindi textbook for Class XI.
The panel, headed by professor Yash Pal and constituted by the Human Resource Development Ministry, to examine Hindi textbooks, has reportedly backed the NCERT’s selection of literature.
A ministry official said, “Only minor changes have been recommended. It will not have any major impact on the Hindi syllabus.”
The report was submitted to the ministry a week ago. The anti-Husain tirade had even reached Yash Pal’s home. He received over 100 postcards from students of the Sangh Parivar-run Vidya Bharati schools, objecting to the inclusion of Husain’s biography. The reason was that the artist had allegedly depicted Hindu deities in bad light.
A committee member said: “Children have a right to learn about the country’s greatest painter.” BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier objected to Pash’s poem Sabse Khatarnak, saying it was a work by a Naxalite glorifying Naxalism.
The committee did not agree. “Pash was a social activist and his poem contains the thoughts of a beautiful young mind,” said the committee member.
The panel has, however, suggested the deletion of certain words from the writings of Om Prakash Valmiki, saying the language was unconstitutional.
The ministry officials said the report was likely to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament for further discussion.