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Focus on Literacy, not Saffronisation, AAP Tells BJP on NCERT Row

The AAP hit out at the BJP, advising them to focus on the poor literacy levels in BJP ruled states instead of “saffronizing education”.

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com@UdaySRana

Updated:July 24, 2017, 4:45 PM IST
Focus on Literacy, not Saffronisation, AAP Tells BJP on NCERT Row
File photo of Atishi Marlena (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and its parent organization, the RSS, after details of a letter written by RSS-ideologue Dina Nath Batra to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) became public.

Batra, in his letter, had made a list of controversial suggestions to the NCERT, including the removal of Arabic and Urdu words, a poem by Mirza Ghalib and an apology tendered by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The AAP hit out at the BJP, advising them to focus on the poor literacy levels in BJP ruled states instead of “saffronizing education”.

Atishi Marlena, senior AAP leader and advisor to Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia on matters of education, said, “A few days ago, the NCERT wanted to review its textbooks and invited comments from all over the country. Dina Nath Batra, who is an RSS ideologue, has sent comments that are very telling about the RSS and BJP mindset. They want Urdu and Arabic words to be removed, they want a poem by Pash and a couplet by Mirza Ghalib removed. They want an extract from MF Hussain’s autobiography to be removed. In Class VII textbooks, it is written that Akbar said all religions are equal. They want that sentence removed. The Class XII political textbook says, ‘During his Parliament speech in 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed regret over bloodshed and sought an apology from the country for anti-Sikh violence’. Dina Nath Batra thinks this should not be taught to our children.”

She further cited examples of textbooks from 1998, when BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi was the Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), and claimed that saffronization of education was “nothing new” for the BJP.

She advised the BJP, instead, to focus on literacy. “In the 21st Century, we should ask how to improve the reading capability of students, how to use technology in education and whether students have classrooms at all. On all these fronts, the record of BJP ruled states is terrible. In Haryana, 46% Class V students cannot read Class II-level Hindi. The number of students who can’t read is 48% in Gujarat, 70% in Madhya Pradesh, 38% in Maharashtra and 77% in Uttar Pradesh. So, should this be a concern for BJP or a Pash poem?”

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| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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