The BJP government in Rajasthan has omitted poems by the likes of John Keats, Thomas Hardy, William Blake, T S Eliot and Edward Lear from the revised Class VIII English textbooks. They have been replaced by mostly lesser-known authors whose works have a regional flavour.
So while Hardy’s ‘When I Set Out For Lyonnesse’, Eliot’s ‘Macavity: The Mystery Cat’ and Blake’s ‘The School Boy’ have been dropped, works such as ‘My first visit to the bank’, ‘The Brave Lady of Rajasthan’, ‘Chittor’, ‘Sangita the brave girl’ have been included in the first lot of revised textbooks that have arrived at state textbook depots in Ajmer, Udaipur, Dausa, Bharatpur and Jaipur.
Last year, Rajasthan had rewritten textbooks from Class I to XII in a period of less than three months. The books that have arrived include those for Class VIII (Hindi, English, Sanskrit, maths) and Class VI (English, Hindi, maths). They have been confined in the godowns of state textbooks depots. Foreign authors were dropped as part of the education department’s directive to the textbook rewriting committee to include content that evokes a sense of pride in the state and the country.
Swami Vivekananda’s ‘The song of the free’ and Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Where the mind is without fear’ are among the additions.
The Class VIII Hindi textbook has also undergone a complete overhaul. Urdu author Ismat Chugtai’s short story ‘Kamchor’ and Hari Shankar Parsai’s ‘Bus Ki Yatra’ have been omitted.