The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has expressed strong displeasure over one of the state's universities dropping the thoughts of socialist ideologues Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan from its postgraduate course in political science.
The government's disapproval was conveyed by Education Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary who, on Thursday, summoned the authorities of the Jayaprakash Narayan University in Saran district.
I was appalled when I read the report on Wednesday morning. I made calls to the department's additional chief secretary and officials of the Directorate of Higher Secondary, who had no idea. By that time, I also received a call from the chief minister, who sounded upset," Chaudhary told reporters.
The minister said he learnt from officials of the varsity that changes were effected in syllabi in accordance with recommendations of an experts' committee in 2018, which was set up after the new education policy came into force.
The government, however, maintains that any such change should not have been brought in without taking the administration into the loop. Socialism has been a unique ideological stream in Indian politics, and Bihar has been one of its main laboratories. Moreover, the state has strong sentiments for JP who was a son of the soil," Chaudhary said.
Notably, both Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his arch-rival Lalu Prasad owe their entry into politics to the JP movement of 1974.
Prasad, a former CM himself, had also shared a clipping of the newspaper report on his Twitter handle, dubbing it as an attempt to saffronise education in Bihar an allusion to the BJP sharing power.
Chaudhary was also asked about the reported inclusion of the thoughts of RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay in the curriculum.
Our contention is that no politically relevant thinker should be excluded from the syllabus. We do not think there is any point in objecting to anybody's inclusion," he said.
The minister also said he looked forward to take up the matter with Governor Fagu Chauhan, who is the Chancellor of all state universities.
Officials in my department have also been directed to check up with other state universities and intervene suitably if similar changes have been proposed in the curricula there," Chaudhary said.