Bengal education minister Bratya Basu. Photo: Official Twitter

Kolkata: West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to “saffronise education” by omitting chapters on secularism in states where the party is in power.

Basu, who was addressing a press conference, was requested to comment on the Uttar Pradesh government’s move to exclude a story by Rabindranath Tagore from the school curriculum.

“The BJP is trying to saffronise education. If they have omitted Tagore’s story from syllabus, it shows their regressive mindset. Tagore is a secular personality as is evident from his writings…Obviously the BJP is not comfortable with such ideologies. Hence they keep removing works of Tagore, Dr Radhakrishnan from school curriculum,” Basu said.

News outlets had reported earlier in July that the Uttar Pradesh Board has dropped the works of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and former President Dr S. Radhakrishnan from the Class 10 and 12 syllabus as it is implementing the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus for English.

Tagore’s short story ‘The Home Coming’ and Radhakrishnan’s essay ‘The Women’s Education’ had earlier been in the Class 12 syllabus.

Also removed from syllabus of the two classes were Sarojini Naidu’s poem ‘The Village Song’, A.L. Basham’s ‘The Heritage of India’,  Mulk Raj Anand’s ‘The Lost Child’, R.K. Narayanan’s ‘An Astrologer’s Day’, along with works by the likes of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, John Milton and P.B. Shelley, Hindustan Times had reported.

The report also carried quotes from teachers who said that the change in the syllabus was a welcome one as it balanced English education and ensured students read fewer books for the exams now.

Meanwhile, Basu also claimed that the BJP peddles mythology as history in textbooks of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

A month ago, the Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut introduced books by Ramdev and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath as part of its philosophy syllabus, reportedly after the Uttar Pradesh government recommended them.

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