Instead of improving the standard of education in the state, the Maharashtra government is planning to buy more books of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will incur fewer amounts for purchasing books on renowned personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The state Education Department will spend Rs 59.42 lakh for buying Modi’s books but will only incur minimal amount of Rs 3.25 lakh on purchasing Mahatma Gandhi’s books, Rs 24.28 lakh on Dr Ambedkar and Rs 22.63 lakh on Mahatma Phule’s subject material. Why is the government trying to glorify Modi and sidelining the contribution made by Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Phule and Ambedkar? Has Modi reached the stature of these leaders today that more importance is being given to his reading material? What message is the state government trying to send to students across the state? Don’t they need to be more aware about the contribution of eminent leaders who have played a vital role in transforming the country instead of a political leader like Modi?
AAP leader Ravi Srivastava said that the government is trying to build Modi as a figure to be worshipped and it is nothing but a cultural purging. He said, “It is ridiculous and should be condemned at the highest level. Instead of teaching better values to children they are trying to propagate Modi by introducing his books at primary education level.”
“Attempts are being made to brainwash student’s minds. It is a wastage of tax-payers money and his books should not be introduced for primary students,” he added.
He also tweeted, “Once again cheap @narendramodi worshipping Mah.Govt buying books worth Rs 60Lakhs to glorify Modi for1st&2nd std kids. Stop this ‘cultural purging’ of young minds. Books bought on reformer Jyotiba Phule &Mahatma Gandhi only Rs 24 lakhs @Dev_Fadnavis @TawdeVinod @PMOIndia stop it.”
Every year books are purchased by the state government and they are circulated in schools across the state. The books are available in Marathi, English, Gujarati, Hindi languages. The education department has floated tenders for the purchase of Modi’s books.
NCP MLA Kiran Pawaskar said that it is not a question of how much money has been spent for purchasing PM Modi’s books but it is about how it can make some impact on the lives of students. “Since only four years have passed after Modi has become India’s Prime Minister, I don’t think any book about his life needs to be published right now. One cannot compare Modi with stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi, Phule, Ambedkar and Nehru,” he said.
Pawaskar said that an attempt is made by the government to iconise Modi. “Already he is all over television and social media. Through this act, the PM is only trying to gain publicity as it will enable him to gain political mileage. Let Modi do some work and retire from political life and then any book on his life should get published or get circulated for educational purposes,” he added.
Earlier too, allegations were made against the government for saffronisation of education. Ever since the Modi government has come to power it has been trying to impose its ideology. They have also been trying to iconise their leaders even though many of them have not made any major contribution for the nation’s development. Attempts were also being made by them to distort history. The Class VII History text book had omitted several chapters of Mughals and gave more prominence to Maratha Empire and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
On the other hand, author Dr Roxy Arora said that citizens should respect the centre’s decision as Modi is our present authoritative figure. She said, “If it is an academic book it will take time for its promotion by teachers for children and students and we will have to wait for the feedback rather than condemning the act.”
“We are celebrating Gandhi Jayanti for Mahatma Gandhi and we also have immense respect for Ambedkar. If Modi is making some radical changes then we have to give him his due. We should read the book to know about it rather than making comments right now,” she added.
Roxy further said that nobody has ever thought about the stress undergone by students appearing for board examinations. “Modi has taken a right step by joining a publisher like Penguin and nobody has done that before,” she added.
The books on PM Modi include 72,933 Marathi copies and 33 Gujarati copies of Chacha Choudhary and Narendra Modi, each costing Rs 35; 424 Hindi copies of Pradhanmantri Narendra Modi at the same price, and 7,148 English copies of the same book.