Rajasthan schools told to buy books on Deendayal Upadhyaya

Rajasthan schools told to buy books on Deendayal Upadhyaya

Rajasthan schools told to buy books on Deendayal Upadhyaya

The BJP government in Rajasthan has directed all secondary and senior secondary schools to buy a set of 15 volumes on Deendayal Upadhyaya, the RSS pracharak, thinker and leader of Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

The books include letters, journals, collection of writings and speeches of Upadhyaya.

The order has run into trouble as the volume costs Rs 6,000, which is almost four times the annual budget sanctioned for a school to buy books. Also, the Opposition has criticised the decision by calling it a multi-crore scam and another effort to saffronise education.

According to a circular released by the state secondary education directorate on February 27, schools in Rajasthan will compulsorily have to buy ‘Deendayal Upadhyaya Sampoorna Vangmay’ from Delhi-based publishing house Prabhat Prakashan. According to official data, around 4,074 secondary schools, 9,444 senior secondary schools and 132 model schools will have the book.

Sunita Chawla, assistant director, senior education department told Deccan Herald, “Around 80% of the schools have a library either in the form of a room or a mere cupboard. However, the yearly budget for the library varies from school to school, ranging from Rs 1,500-2,000 a year.”

The Congress has criticised the ruling BJP for compelling schools to procure the expensive books. State Congress president Sachin Pilot told DH, “It’s a big scam where the BJP wants to favour the editor of this book, Mahesh Sharma, former BJP MP and BJP state president in Rajasthan during Vasundhara Raje’s previous term. Also, it shows the party's vested interest in promoting this book to spread saffronisation in the state.”

Similar views were echoed by social activist Mukesh Goswami of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghathan (MKSS). "When schools are still fighting for basic amenities, such an expensive book won't help improve students. Instead of splurging on such costly books, schools can spend on necessary commodities.”

The book was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Vigyan Bhavan last year.