What is common between the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 and the recent political movement at Singur? The two events will be a few chapters apart in history textbooks of secondary school students in West Bengal.
The inclusion of the movement, still fresh in people’s minds, comes with the approval of the state government’s syllabus committee, said state education minister Partha Chatterjee.
Chatterjee told reporters that the chapter will be part of the syllabus for classes IX and X from the 2017-18 academic year. The chapter will include the movement of the ‘unwilling’ farmers of Singur against parting with their land, along with the 14-day sit-in demonstration of Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee at Singur, and her 26-day hunger strike in Kolkata.
‘Singur like Tebhaga’
“The Singur movement will find place alongside the Tebhaga movement and other peasants’ uprisings in the state. Students should know that the Singur movement is a milestone in the history of India,” Chatterjee said. Following the Supreme Court verdict on August 31, which ruled that the acquired land should be returned to peasants, Chatterjee had asked, “If incidents like Jallianwala Bagh massacre or Sepoy mutiny can be included in the syllabus, why not the Singur movement?”
Soon after the apex court’s verdict, the education minister had said, “At Singur, farmers fought for their cause and despite all adversities, emerged victorious in the end. Students should know all about this. The movement is historic and we received several proposals from intellectuals and educationists to include this in the school syllabus.” A senior government official said that while an initial round of talks have been held with syllabus committee members, details will be finalised soon.