People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 23, 2004
Undoing The Saffronisation Damage Now
Demand Clean Up Act By New Govt
and cultural activists have called upon the new United Progressive Alliance
government assuming office at the centre to immediately take steps to undo the
damage which the six years of BJP-led government has inflicted in various
sectors of the country, particularly the academic and cultural bodies of the
a news conference, organised in New Delhi by SAHMAT on May 20, eminent
economist, Prabhat Patnaik, historians Arjun Dev and D N Jha and theatre
personality M K Raina said the damage was of “enormous proportions” and
control operations must be set in motion without any loss of time.
Patnaik said the verdict of the people was for “repairing of these damages”
and the new government must undertake the task in right earnest. Giving
instances of the anti-people policies of the NDA government, he said it exported
foodgrains at throwaway prices when millions of countrymen were dying,
disinvested public sector undertakings at low prices and made moves towards full
capital account convertibility. The “unholy alliance between the global
capital and Hindu communalism” was established, he said, when the stock
markets crashed at the collapse of the BJP-led government.
K Raina underscored the need for “cleaning up the muck in all educational and
cultural institutions”. The new government should “unleash freedom of
activity”, Raina said.
Arjun Dev said the damage in the field of social sciences, in general, and
history, in particular, was massive. It not only poisoned minds but totally
distorted history. Giving the genesis of the saffron penetration into a variety
of institutes from the ICHR, NCERT, to institutes of advanced studies to even
banning history books on the freedom struggle, he said this has to be undone and
what has been distorted in the new books must be corrected after proper
evaluation. The number of non-academic appointments to key bodies have to be
also probed he said.
meeting also raised the demand that the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi be
tried for his crimes against the minorities.
full text of the statement released at the news conference is as follows:
resounding and clear verdict of the people of India, epitomised by the verdict
in Gujarat is clearly against the politics of hatred and division and a plea for
humane and just governance. The Gujarat genocide of 2002 repulsed and horrified
both the people of Gujarat and India, even two years ago. In December 2002 also
49 per cent of Gujaratis voted against the political peddling of hatred despite
state intimidation and terror. Yet the ruling NDA and the BJP government in
Gujarat shamefully did not accept moral and physical responsibility for the
carnage and gloated over their electoral victory which came after the violence.
two years later, the stand of all right thinking Indians, regardless of caste
and creed, stands vindicated. In the just concluded elections, the Congress
contesting on a secular platform has got a majority in 92 assembly segments as
against 90 by the BJP in Gujarat. The people of India have now decisively shown
that the divisive politics of communalism has no lasting space in India. What
all Indians want is a life of dignity and peace, a harmony that has deep and
civilisational roots in this land. While welcoming this verdict, we urge the
next government to undertake measures to ensure justice to the riot victims in
Gujarat to undo the damage done to institutions with the appointment of RSS men
in key posts, to desaffronise education and to create and maintain an atmosphere
of harmony in which creative endeavour is not endangered by the lumpens of the
the last year alone there have been attempts to stifle creative and scholarly
expression as witnessed in attacks on Habib Tanvir in Madhya Pradesh, vandalism
at Bhandarkar Institute in Pune, and attacks on artists and artworks in Surat by
the vandals of the VHP and Bajrang Dal to list just a few instances. A
democratic society has to weed out such bigotry.
Supreme Court judgement in the Best Bakery case confirms what the secular groups
and citizens have been saying in relation to providing justice to the victims of
state-sponsored communal violence in Gujarat even after two years of the
worst-ever carnage. The tragedy of Gujarat was compounded by an unrepentant
administration and executive described as ‘ modern day Neros’ by the
six years of BJP-led government’s rule have been a period of unmitigated
disaster for all national level academic and cultural organisations over which
the BJP-led government exercised its authority. Their autonomous academic and
professional character was subverted and they were converted into instruments
for implementing the blatantly communal agenda of BJP and its parent
organisation – the RSS – and its various ‘educational’ and
‘cultural’ bodies. Within a short period of its coming to power, the BJP-led
government appointed persons who were totally committed to the communal ideology
of BJP and to implementing BJP’s communal agenda to head almost every national
level organisation. The compositions of the various bodies of these
organisations was changed to ensure that there was no deviation in their
activities and programmes from the communal agenda which the BJP had set for
is incumbent upon the new government to immediately take steps to undo the
damage which the six years of BJP-led government’s rule has inflicted on the
various academic and cultural organisations of the country.
We urge upon the government of the United Progressive Alliance to take
the following steps at the earliest.
may be added that these are among the initial steps that the government must
take to undo the damage done by the BJP-led government to academic and cultural
organisations. The inquiry
committees to be set up to look into their functioning and activities will
uncover many more misuses of authority and programmes to serve the communal
agenda which would need to be appropriately addressed.
hold an inquiry (or a series of inquiries) into the functioning of National
Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Indian Council for
Historical Research (ICHR), University Grants Commission (UGC), Indian
Institute of Advance Studies (IIAS), Indian Council of Social Science
Research (ICSSR), Indian Council for Philosophical Research (ICPR), Indira
Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), National Council for Teacher
Education (NCTE), National Open School (NOS), National Institute of
Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), etc. and to take steps to
restore and strengthen the professional, autonomous and secular character of
remove from office those heads of the organisations who have brazenly
misused their position to convert the organisations headed by them as
instruments for implementing BJP’s communal agenda and to initiate
proceedings against them for violating norms and rules of conduct governing
the offices held by them.
inquire into all appointments and promotions made by the heads of these
organisations appointed by the BJP-led government for any violation of rules
and norms governing appointments and promotions and to take corrective
inquire into cases of harassment of staff of academic organisations and to
annul all transfers which were made to harass academic staff and to suppress
free expression of opinions in academic matters.
set up committees to examine the programmes and activities pursued by these
organisations and the projects funded by them and immediately put a stop to
those programmes and activities which were designed to serve a communal
immediately order the publications of the Towards Freedom volumes prepared
under the auspices of ICHR which had been withdrawn at the instance of the
BJP-led government .
reconstitute and convene the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE)
which the BJP-led government had declared defunct and had refused to
reconstitute and convene in violation of the directions of the Supreme
withdraw the so-called National Curriculum Framework for School Education
(NFSCE) and to set up a Committee to consider afresh the question of
formulating a national curriculum framework.
set up expert committees to review the syllabuses prepared by the NCERT on
the basis of the NCFSE and all new textbooks brought out by NCERT from 2002
to 2004, based on these syllabuses.
immediately withdraw the new social science and history syllabuses and
textbooks based on them brought out by NCERT during 2002-04 which have been
condemned by academic opinion throughout the country for their blatantly
communal distortions and sub-standard quality and also to immediately stop
their reprinting and distribution and direct the Central Board of Secondary
Education (CBSE) to remove them with immediate effect.
restore the social science and history syllabuses which were in use till
2001 and all textbooks based on them brought out by NCERT till 2001,
particularly all history textbooks, and to immediately bring out their
reprint editions; to direct the CBSE to prescribe them from the 2004-05
academic session; to also direct the CBSE to withdraw the circular issued by
it in October 2001 ordering deletion of some passages from four history
textbooks of NCERT which had been prescribed by the CBSE up to 2001.
review the materials brought out by the NOS particularly in the areas of
social studies, history, culture and other subjects and to withdraw all such
materials which are found to be promoting communalism and obscurantism.
stop funding of various ‘educational’ bodies set up by various
organisations of the Sangh Parivar and to take all necessary steps to stop
the misuse of educational institutions for disseminating communal hatred and
stop the UGC from taking any step which infringe upon the autonomy of
universities and other institutions of higher learning.
put an end to the interference in the functioning of IIMs. To do away with
the Central Admission Test (CAT) for admissions to technical and management
courses in all universities.