Panel formed to review West Bengal text books labelling freedom fighters as ‘extremists’

Kolkata, PTI | Updated : 09 July 2019, 06:42 PM
West Bengal text books (Representational Image)
West Bengal text books (Representational Image)

Amid a controversy over history text book in state-run schools describing a section of the freedom fighters as "extremists", the West Bengal government Tuesday announced formation of a committee to review the contents of such books.

Headed by educationist Jiban Mukhopadhyay, the "textbook review committee" comprises headmasters and senior school teachers, Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said in the Assembly. The panel was asked to submit its report to the education department within three months, the minister said.

Immediately before the beginning of the Question Hour, CPI(M) MLA Pradip Kumar Saha said a chapter in the class 8 history text book described several freedom fighters such as Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki as belonging to an extremist ("santrashbadi") branch.

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In 1908, Bose and Chaki had hurled a bomb to a horse-drawn carriage aiming at assassinating a British judge but ended up killing two European women, as their target was in a different carriage. Chaki committed suicide before being arrested while Bose was hanged when he was only 18 years old.

The freedom fighters who had sacrificed their lives for the country were labelled as “extremists” in the text book in state-run and aided schools, Saha told Speaker Biman Banerjee and produced a copy of it in the House.

The speaker took the book from the Purbasthali North MLA and said he will look into it. The education minister later announced in the House the formation of the "Textbook Review Committee".

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The committee will take opinion of students, parents and teachers on the contents of the books and ease of understanding of the language used in the books, before drawing a conclusion and submitting its report, the minister said.

First Published: Tuesday, July 09, 2019 06:39 PM
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