Mamata purges Marx, Engels from textbooks

Mamata purges Marx, Engels from textbooks

The West Bengal government has now decided to overhaul the history syllabus radically.

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress government intends to replace references to Marx, Engels and Bolshevik that were current in the CPM-ruled phase, with references now to globalisation, women’s movement and Nelson Mandela.
A school education syllabus committee, appointed by the Mamata government, has suggested the changes.

“It is a complete misconception that we are doing away with Marxist movements or communism from history. In the present syllabus, a student might feel that there are only three countries in the world – India, England and Soviet Russia but a student needs to get exposed to the latest trends of the world and the history naturally,” said committee chairman Avik Majumdar.

“So to make the syllabus more dynamic and realistic, we have only suggested to include democratic movements, invasions by various explorers and the 20th century history. While elaborating on the theme, we have brought in Latin America, China as well as various movements in India. Also, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have been included keeping in mind their significance in the post 1947 era,” Majumdar said.
Claiming that the syllabus during the Left regime was partial, Majumdar said “the syllabus should not be used as a tool to brainwash the student.”

The CPM was also critical about the change and according to one of their top leaders “The new government is trying to wipe away everything of the Left regime and to change the syllabus is such an unrealistic manner is also an example of that.”
Claiming that Marx and Engels are not “great” characters in history, Majumdar said: “We have omitted Russian revolution, but kept Lenin and the Chinese revolution in the syllabus. If we had any intention to leave out communism, then why did we include Chinese revolution, Lenin?  It is unfair if the children are only taught about these theories and they do not have any understanding of the Green Revolution, Chipko movement or Nelson Mandela.”

The new recommendations also suggest that the students of the state board may get an exposure to the literary genius of stalwarts who have introduced Indian writings to the West. Works of Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Mulk Raj Anand, Vikram Seth, R K Narayan, Anita Desai, Upamanyu Chatterjee and Arundhuti Roy are all set to be part of the English syllabus for classes XI and XII.

Educationist Pabitra Sarkar was critical about the changes. He told Deccan Herald,  “I don’t know what makes someone ‘great’ but this kind of an approach is absolutely foolish.”

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