New Delhi: The controversy over cartoons in text books threatens to escalate. After a committee set up by the HRD Ministry recommended the removal of 43 cartoons, which included those of Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, from the NCERT textbooks of classes 9-12, the chief of the national council has said that there is no logic behind axing them.
The NCERT chief says that it is illogical to remove the cartoons in textbooks as recommended by the Thorat committee.
In fact, two of the "negative political" cartoons included those of Jawaharlal Nehru using his foot to propel a politician into the Governor's house and a beggar out to garland Indira Gandhi.
The Thorat Committee said that the cartoons in Political Science textbooks were "educationally inappropriate".
NCERT Chairperson Pravin Sinclair, however, says, "People are not happy with the report... It's not obvious how some cartoons have been removed and some haven't... There is no common logic behind why these cartoons are being axed..."
While the Dr BR Ambedkar caricature, that started the entire cartoons-in-textbooks controversy, is sure to be removed, the NCERT says it will fight to keep the others.
The Throat Committee's recommendations have now been referred to the national monitoring committee for a second opinion. There is little chance that the report will be implemented in its entirety unless there is political pressure to do so. The one big criticism coming its way is that it didn't bother taking feedback from the most important stakeholders - the schoolchildren.
Pushpesh Pant, an academician, says that the Throat Committee has done the entire country a great disservice. "How can they say politicians and bureaucrats cannot be lampooned? They greatly underestimate the intelligence of young adults."
The controversy that threatened to stall a Parliament session, forced a minister to apologise, and divided the academic world is far from over. And it certainly has no one laughing.