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Published in the 16-31 July 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Mulayam teaches Hindutva 
By Masood Hasan  

Lucknow: Despite the fact that the case relating to Ayodhya dispute is still pending in the court, a new controversy has arisen over adding of a new chapter in the book of history in Uttar Pradesh. In the books of histroy prescribed at the secondary level classes the disputed place in Ayodhya has been declared as the Ram Janmabhoomi. Muslims leaders and clerics are tightlipped and have refused to comment but they are worried and shocked over the change of facts in the history syllabus. The Deeni Taleemi Council is reviewing the book at present before taking any action. The Taleemi Council is of the view that this is a conspiracy to change facts in a bid to saffronise education. This also reveals that saffronisation of education is going apace even under Mulayam. 

Page 296 of the controversial book, Bharat ka brihat itihas 

This book of history was written by Shrinetra Pandey four decades ago and this fact has been acknowledged in the new publication which appeared only recently. The new book has been revised and new facts were included, according to the new syllabus prescribed by the Uttar Pradesh secondary education council which prescribed the amended syllabus and approved the new facts. The book consist of 302 pages. Ayodhya has been described in the book as the oldest centre of pilgrimage for Hindus. Accodring to the book, Uttar Pradesh Government which has asked for historical facts on Ramayana and Ram Janmabhoomi, proved that Ayodhya is the town of Rama and the place where the Babri Masjid stands is the birthplace of Rama. There was a mandir at that place for decades until it was demolished by the Mughal Emperor Babar to build a mosque on the site. Now the mosque has been demolished. The records and statues recovered from beneath the floor have proved that there was an old mandir there, the book says. 

The office-bearers of the Deeni Taleemi Council are worried and shocked over inclusion of such a chapter in the book. Both the Deeni Taleemi Council and Minorities Educational Institution Association which publishes books at the primary level in the state are thoroughly reviewing the book. The office-bearers say that an action would be initiated after a complete investigation.

This journalist has contacted a number of Muslim ministers in the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government to know their views about the inclusion of a new chapter in the history book but they avoided to comment or to offer their suggestions on the issue. They rather referred to the efforts made by the Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to crush the communal forces in Uttar Pradesh.
Zafaryab Jilani, convenor of the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC), has demanded that the Uttar Pradesh government should constitute a committee of secular experts to review the book. He called upon the state government to issue a circular to all the colleges of the state to withdraw this book because this book plays with facts and would poison the minds of the students. He said that he had written a letter to the education department to draw the attention of the officers of the concerned department.

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