Rajasthan’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government has deleted a chapter on the Right to Information (RTI) movement from the class VIII social science textbook.
The decision has shocked many RTI activists and campaigners in Rajasthan.
The new move comes after it emerged that the Vasundhara Raje government had erased the memory of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, from the textbook.
A report published in The Hindu said that the deleted chapter described the history of the struggle by farmers and labourers for access to the muster rolls of drought relief work in Devdungari village of Rajsamand district; the movement went on to be the impetus to give the country a unique RTI legislation.
The development is significant because the state witnessed a series of people’s movements, which played a fundamental role.
The narrative on the movement, initiated by the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) on the issue, forms an integral part of curricula the world over, including at the Kennedy School of Governance in Harvard.
In a letter Magasaysay award winning social activist Aruna Roy and her colleagues in MKSS to State Chief Secretary C.S. Rajan have demanded to know what was objectionable to warrant blacking out of the chapter from the textbook.
“In the hurry to re-write history and manipulate textbooks for political reasons, the government is hurting the sentiments of ordinary people, burying the truth, and actually attempting to obliterate acknowledgement of a contribution that should be of pride to the whole State,” stated the letter written by Ms. Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh.