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'Jauhar' textbook row reaches Rajasthan CM's office

Saturday - May 18, 2019 10:48 pm , Category : EDUCATION
Jaipur, May 18 (IANS) The controversy over the removal of a picture of 'jauhar' or self-immolation by women from class VIII textbooks on Saturday reached the Rajasthan Chief Minister's Office with two Congress ministers locking horns on the issue.

Sources said the Chief Minister's Office is looking into the issue.
Soon after the removal of the 'jauhar' picture from class VIII textbooks, Congress state minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and Congress candidate from Chittorgarh Gopal Singh Idawa had come out strongly against Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasra raising questions on the removal of the picture.
'Jauhar' is said to be the historic custom of mass immolation by women to avoid capture, enslavement and rape by foreign invaders when facing certain defeat during war. Some associate it with Rajput pride and honour.
Meanwhile, Dotasra speaking to IANS said that the picture did not match with the text of a poem in the textbooks which had left students confused.
"There was no such caption mentioning that it was a 'jauhar' picture as it depicted some 15-20 women engulfed in fire. Hence the review committee set by our department advised for the removal of the same. Had it been captioned 'Rani Padmavati practising Jauhar', we would have never removed it. In fact, the chapters on jauhar have been retained in the textbooks of other classes," he added.
Earlier, Dotasra had said that since the similar practice of Sati was banned, so such pictures can be shown to 21st century students, rather they should be taught stories of astronaut Kalpana Chawla, tennis star Sania Mirza and other public figures.
Sources confirmed that Khachariyawas and Idawa have complained to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot in this context.
Khachariyawas said there is a difference between 'Sati' and 'Jauhar', adding history cannot be changed on the basis of what a minister says while Idawa demanded that 'jauhar' should again be accommodated in the syllabus.
Dotasra in February had formed two committees to review the syllabus of Rajasthan board textbooks. The committee removed the 'jauhar' picture from class VIII textbooks, besides removing the prefix 'Veer' in Veer Savarkar and dropping the suffix 'Great' from Maharana Pratap's name.
Meanwhile, BJP youth leader and grandson of former Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Abhimanyu Singh Rajvi, said the Congress government has brought "dishonour" to Rajputs by removing the 'jauhar' picture and changing the references to Maharana Pratap and Veer Savarkar.
"The Congress ideology prefers vote banks and policy of appeasement. By changing the syllabus and removing the glory of Rajputs, they have insulted the community," he said.
Rajvi said the Education Minister who himself doesn't know if Maharana Pratap was 'Great' or not does not deserve to be minister for education.

--IANS arc/kr/prs