NEW DELHI -- The Rajasthan government may find it hard to erase Jawaharlal Nehru from school textbooks by virtue of his role as India's first Prime Minister, but changes to school textbooks suggest a concerted effort to significantly reduce his share of the history pages.
The Times of India reported today that Nehru's speech, Tryst With Destiny, which he made close to midnight on August 14,1947, is missing from the Class IX Social Science textbook in Rajasthan.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan says that it is not trying to remove Nehru from school textbooks, TOI reported today that it has brought down his pictures, illustrations and content to mere passing remarks.
On Sunday, The Indian Express reported that references to Nehru had been removed from the Class VIII Social Studies textbook in Rajasthan. As outrage mounted, State Education Minister Vasudev Devnani said that Nehru's name appears on page 91 and 177 of the textbook, but a closer perusal showed that these references did not cover his role in the freedom struggle and later as India's first Prime Minister.
Bolstered by the BJP ascent to the Centre in May, 2014, the state government in Rajasthan, which came to power in December 2013, has been altering the school syllabus to further its agenda of making students instilling "patriotism" and "nationalism" in students, and to undo what they believe has been Congress Party's monopoly over India's modern history in which members of the Nehru-Gandhi family are excessively glorified.
Interestingly, Devnani is under fire not only the Congress Party, but also the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, BJP's ideological mentor, for alterations in the school textbooks. While the Congress Party is angry over Nehru's treatment in the textbooks, RSS is reportedly displeased over the removal of poems such as Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna by Ram Prasad Bismil and Jhansi Ki Rani by Subhadra Kumari.
"These poems reflect the mood and sentiments of the freedom struggle. They should not have been removed," an RSS functionary told TOI.
Also on HuffPost India: