Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Exclusion of Nehru’s name from textbooks

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The BJP government in Rajasthan has made all the lows in politics by “removing” India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s name from new textbooks for classes’ sixth to eighth in Rajasthan. People are disappointed with BJP and its cheap politics. They gave mandate to the party trusting on the development mantra and ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, he failed to deliver his election promises and to divert the people’s attention from this; his party is creating unwanted controversies. What Congress leaders have contributed to the freedom of this country can’t be sidelined and Nehru is one of the prominent leaders who were close to many hearts.

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence. He emerged as the paramount leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and ruled India from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He is considered to be the architect of the modern Indian nation-state: a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic. He was also known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with Kashmiri Pandit community while many Indian children knew him as “Uncle Nehru” (Chacha Nehru). The textbook, “Samajik Vigyan”, makes no mention of Nehru as a freedom fighter or as “a leader of Independent India”. It does not even mention Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination at the hands of Nathuram Godse. This is absolutely unacceptable that the BJP is working in a vindictive manner by not even mentioning India’s first prime minister in the textbooks. Nehru’s contribution to the freedom struggle and as the first prime minister of independent India is enshrined in history. The BJP can change textbooks but it can’t rewrite history.

As per reports, the new Social Science textbook for Class VIII in schools of Rajasthan has erased Nehru from the pages of history. The textbook, which is still not available in the market but has been uploaded on the website of publisher Rajasthan Rajya Pathyapustak Mandal, features Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and revolutionary Hemu Kalani. But other Indian National Congress leaders, including Sarojini Naidu and Madan Mohan Malaviya, are not mentioned in the history section of the textbook, written by senior teachers and principals from government schools.

Nehru was one of the first nationalist leaders to realise the sufferings of the people in the states ruled by Indian Princes. He suffered imprisonment in Nabha, a princely state, when he went there to see the struggle that was being waged by the Sikhs against the corrupt Mahants. The nationalist movement had been confined to the territories under direct British rule. He helped to make the struggle of the people in the princely states as a part of the nationalist movement for independence. The All India states people’s conference was formed in 1927. Nehru who had been supporting the cause of the people of the princely states for many years was made the President of the conference in 1935. He opened up its ranks to membership from across the political spectrum. The body would play an important role during the political integration of India, helping Indian leaders Vallabhbhai Patel and V.P. Menon (to whom Nehru had delegated the task of integrating the princely states into India) negotiate with hundreds of princes.

In July 1946, Nehru pointedly observed that no princely state could prevail militarily against the army of independent India. In January 1947, he said that independent India would not accept the Divine Right of Kings, and in May 1947, he declared that any princely state which refused to join the Constituent Assembly would be treated as an enemy state. During the drafting of the Indian constitution, many Indian leaders (except Nehru) of that time were in favour of allowing each Princely state or Covenanting State to be independent as a federal state along the lines suggested originally by the Government of India act (1935). But as the drafting of the constitution progressed and the idea of forming a republic took concrete shape (because of the efforts of Nehru), it was decided that all the Princely states/Covenanting States would merge with the Indian republic. Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, de-recognised all the rulers by a presidential order in 1969. However, this was struck down by the Supreme Court of India. Eventually, the government by the 26th Amendment to the constitution was successful in abolishing the Princely states of India. The process began by Nehru was finally completed by his daughter by the end of 1971. Nehru was one of the first leaders to demand that the Congress Party should resolve to make a complete and explicit break from all ties with the British Empire. He introduced a resolution demanding “complete national independence” in 1927, which was rejected because of Gandhi’s opposition.

In 1928, Gandhi agreed to Nehru’s demands and proposed a resolution that called for the British to grant dominion status to India within two years. If the British failed to meet the deadline, the Congress would call upon all Indians to fight for complete independence. Nehru was one of the leaders who objected to the time given to the British – he pressed Gandhi to demand immediate actions from the British. Gandhi broke a further compromise by reducing the time given from two years to one. Nehru agreed to vote for the new resolution.

Nehru was luminary, most educated and learned man, no leader in present government is of his stature. Motor mouth leaders like Subramaniam Swamy of BJP is a gossip mongers who assassinated the character of Nehru. BJP will go berserk if such low continues. The future of the party seems in the dark if such kind of politics continues.

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