Congress opposes teaching school students about the partition

Congress opposes teaching school students about the partition

On Thursday, August 24, Congress leader Manickam Tagore said that he has written a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in which he requested that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) rethink its decision to hold an exhibition on themes pertaining to Indo-Pak partition.

In his letter dated August 21st, the Congress MP from Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar raised concern over CBSE’s decision to hold exhibitions on the theme of partition saying that such a move would instil hatred into the minds of India’s younger generations. Tagore urged the Centre to ‘preserve’ social harmony by withdrawing its decision in this regard.

“I express my concern towards the decision made by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) regarding the organization of exhibitions on the theme of ‘Partition’ in schools. I earnestly urge you to reconsider and withdraw this decision so as not to spread hatred among the minds of our younger generations and to preserve the social harmony of our society,” Tagore stated in his letter.

The Congress MP further asserted that although it is important to learn from the events of the country’s history, this subject should be approached with “sensitivity and consideration for the impressionable minds of our youths.”

Moreover, the letter seemed like a balancing act where the Congress MP on one hand is talking about the importance of learning about historical events, and on the other, he is stressing that young students be taught about history in such a manner that “fosters understanding, compassion, and a sense of unity among our young generations.”

The letter also stresses that exhibitions centred around the bloodshed and atrocities that transpired during the partition in 1947 could “inadvertently perpetuate negative emotions and divisive sentiments” adding that such a move would be in stark opposition to India’s goal of nurturing responsible citizens who value harmony and unity.

As reported earlier, CBSE had on August 14th issued a circular stating that exhibitions be held based on themes related to partition in observance of “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”.

While Congress’s Manickam Tagore asserted that holding such exhibitions would spread hatred in the minds of young students, the CBSE circular had already stated that “the exhibition be showcased with the sobriety and solemnness that it deserves. It may be specifically ensured that the sentiments of any section of society are not to be hurt”.

The Congress leader further argued that the education system should play a pivotal role in shaping the minds of young students in such a manner that they embrace diversity.

Manickam Tagore concluded the letter urging Minister Pradhan to withdraw CBSE’s decision.

Interestingly, Tagore urged the Centre to teach students about historical events, in this context, events centred around India’s partition, in such a manner that it fosters compassion and a sense of unity. The question here arises of how will CBSE present the horrors of Direct Action Day, the massacre of Hindus by the Islamists, and how on August 14th, 1947, united India was cruelly divided into 3 parts- India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan on religious grounds at a cost of genocide of more than 2 million Indians, in such a manner that would foster unity and compassion.

The truth should come out the way it is, the young minds of India deserve to know the horrors endured by their ancestors while the Britishers simply looked on, some Congress leaders and of course, Mohammad Ali Jinnah were deciding their power share.

It is notable that just days back, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar had also made similar comments about CBSE’s decision to hold exhibitions on partition. The NCP leader has said that he is worried about CBSE’s circular claiming that “it will not be suitable to imbibe a history in the minds of the young generation which includes bloodshed and bitterness.”

The argument that teaching the younger generation about the bloodshed and horrors of partition will instil bitterness and hatred in their minds, preventing them from becoming responsible citizens, does not hold water as it is only when the younger minds who will become India’s future leaders know their history free of bias, cover-ups, and propaganda that they will understand what mistakes made in the past must not be repeated in the future. OpIndia recently published a comprehensive article on the vital lessons that may be learned to ensure that the country is never partitioned again.

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