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Lalu, Karpoori off school map

Nitish Kumar hounded Lalu Prasad Yadav out of power. Now, his government has edged him out of the school curriculum.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 02:26 IST

Out of power, out of school books. Strange are the ways in Bihar where politicians make it to classrooms.

Nitish Kumar hounded Lalu Prasad Yadav out of power. Now, his government has edged him out of the school curriculum. Lalu’s biography “Mitti ka Gaurav (pride of the land)”, which was on the Class VIII texts for more than two decades, will not be taught anymore.

Lalu is not alone. On their way out are former chief ministers Karpoori Thakur and Bhola Paswan Shastri. The Bihar State Textbook Corporation Committee has recommended the “ouster” and it is now up to the state government to decree it. The “exit” -- the politics apart — is ignominous. Once dubbed the messiah of the poor and praised for canny political instincts, Lalu suddenly finds himself stripped of the role model’s post. The committee, set up by the government to comb the secondary-level texts for linguistic and factual errors, said the authors of “Mitti Ke Gaurav” were found intellectually wanting. Apparently, they lagged in the race of authors in the Hindi prose collection Gadya Sopan.

The panel has suggested replacement of the chapters with other biographies by more competent “biographers”. Contacted, human resources minister Brishen Patel said, “I am yet to go through the recommendations. The government will have to take a final decision on the replacement.”

Author Harivansh Narayan, who penned Mitti Ke Gaurav, defended his leader. He said though Lalu was not a mathematician by any reckoning, “in practical life he successfully built political equations to beat his opponents” Experts feels that the author blown Lalu out of proportion, comparing him with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Mitti Ke Gaurav also has brief life-sketches of Thakur and Shastri. The social justice brigade feels that if the chapter is removed, it would deprive the children from learning about the “life and works of these two great leaders of the state”.

A panel member told HT that the aim was not to do away with the chapter, but to prove that the writer was not competent enough.

First Published: May 24, 2006 02:26 IST