NEW DELHI -- Jawaharlal Nehru may no longer have pride of place in the Class VIII history textbook in Rajasthan, but India's first Prime Minister features prominently in a Hindi-language textbook in neighboring Gujarat, which has him explaining the slogan "Bharat Mata Ki Jai."
The Bharatiya Janata Party is in power in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Another addition in Hindi textbooks for Class IX and XI in Gujarat is the song Manushya Tu Badaa Mahaan Hai which is a favorite on the campuses of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, The Indian Express reported today.
The newspaper carried extracts from a chapter in the Class XI Second Language textbook, which has Nehru explaining the meaning of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" to "uneducated" villagers.
In the chapter, Nehru says, “Bharat Mata koi sundar, bebas, asahaay naari nahi hai jiske dharti tak latakne-wale lambe baal hon, jaisa aksar kalpit tasviron me dikhlaya jaata hai…” (Bharat Mata is not a beautiful, helpless, woman with long hair, like how she is generally depicted in photos).
Nitin Pethani, chairman of the Gujarat State School Textbook Board, told The Indian Express that changes in textbooks were aimed at instilling "the sentiments of nationalism among students."
"We have done this in a sharp, precise and effective manner through selection of literature…that will arouse patriotism among the younger generation, which is gradually fading," he said.
When The Indian Express reporter asked Pethani why these changes were being introduced in Hindi textbooks, Pethani replied, “It is rare to see such patriotic feeling in Gujarati literature (when) compared to Hindi, which is our national language.”
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