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Nursery rhymes get saffron sack

The BJP Govt in Madhya Pradesh has decided that the rhymes you grew up with will no longer ring in the classrooms, reports Sravani Sarkar.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 01:54 IST

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are -- goes the nursery rhyme. The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh seems to know whatever it is, it is not Indian. So, the rhyme you grew up with will no longer ring in the classrooms of MP.

In a shocker of a decision, many such popular rhymes, including Johny, Johny Yes Papa and Baa Baa Black Sheep, have been tagged as "too western" for the children and dropped from the Class I syllabus of the MP Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE) course from this academic year.

Instead, the children will now be fed with English rhymes -- penned by Indian poets.

State School Education Minister Narottam Mishra says anything that smacks of western culture will be removed from the school syllabus. "We want our children to have value education in local colour."

The decision to drop the rhymes has raised objections from parents and academicians. Academician Prof Zamiruddin says the step was "churlish and thoughtless". Unless the government replaces the rhymes with equally popular, easy-to-learn, musical and rhythmic poems, there is no logic in removing them, he says.

Agrees Professor Yash Pal, who headed National Curriculum Framework committee. "I don't mind if the rhymes are replaced by equally good Indian poems," he says.

NCERT officials say this may isolate the children in MP as the rhymes will continue to be taught in other states.

First Published: Jun 14, 2006 01:44 IST