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Row over non-inclusion of chapters in Madhya Pradesh syllabus

Promises made by the MP government to include chapters on a wide range of topics, from ‘Gita saar’ (essence of Bhagwad Gita) to Jana Sangh founder Deendayal Upadhyaya and the valour of legendary Rajput queen Rani Padmavati in school syllabus stoked a controversy.

Madhya Pradesh Elections 2018 Updated: Oct 31, 2018 23:26 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh Election 2018,Madhya Pradesh Election 2018 News,Madhya Pradesh Constituency
Over the past few years, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has promised to include a number of things in the syllabi.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT File Photo)

Promises made by the Madhya Pradesh government to include chapters on a wide range of topics, from ‘Gita saar’ (essence of Bhagwad Gita), to Jana Sangh founder Deendayal Upadhyaya and the valour of legendary Rajput queen Rani Padmavati in school syllabus has stoked a political controversy in the poll-bound state.

Government officials say despite assurances from senior ministers, no chapters have been included on these topics in the state’s school syllabus. The opposition Congress, which is looking to come back to power in the state after 15 years, says the episode shows the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not fulfill its promises.

Over the past few years, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has promised to include a number of things in the syllabi. For example, last November during protests against the film Padmavat, he called Padmavati “Rashtramata” (mother of the country) and announced the inclusion of a chapter on her in school syllabi. But school books this year feature no such chapter.

A state government official said on condition of anonymity that there was little possibility of the education department deciding on the issue until after the elections because of the model code of conduct.

The CM had also announced chapters on Adi Shankracharya, Narmada river and Saint Ravidas, but it hasn’t materialised. As per government officials, since there are already references on the three in the syllabus, there may not be full-fledged chapters on the same.

The Congress says this proves the government is not serious about its promises. “The CM is in habit of making announcements and bureaucracy is in habit of overlooking it as the latter knows the CM is not serious about the announcements and he makes the promises just for the immediate political gains”, said state Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza.

The BJP blamed the Congress for politicising the issue. School education minister Vijay Shah said, “Every process takes time to be completed. We have a text book committee that approves every topic to be included in the syllabus and that’s why there may be some delay.” State BJP chief spokesperson Deepak Vijayavargiya said, “The Congress is in habit of politicising every issue...”

Madhya Pradesh Teachers’ Association general secretary Ashutosh Pandey said, “I haven’t seen any topic being added to the syllabus in the past five years. It is only a political stunt.”

First Published: Oct 31, 2018 23:25 IST