Marx, Engels to exit Bengal history syllabus

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 06, 2012 05:21 hrs

Higher secondary students in State-run schools in West Bengal may no longer have to study subjects such as the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - founders of Marxism - and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

A committee to overhaul the decades-old school education syllabus in the State has prepared a final draft of new syllabus excluding the topics in the history textbooks in which Marx, Engels and Bolsheviks will make way for democratic movements across the post-Cold War world.

Even though the proposed change comes within a year of the Trinamool Congress' (TMC) victory against the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front in state elections who ruled the state for over three decades, the committee has vehemently denied a political link.

"It is a complete misconception that we are doing away with Marxist movements or communism from history. In our recommendations, we have only suggested to include democratic movements, invasions by various explorers and the 20th century history.

"We have brought in Latin America, China as well as various movements in India. Also, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have been included keeping in mind their significance in the post 1947 era," Avik Mazumdar, chairman of the reform committee was quoted as saying.

However, he added that the the existing history textbooks stressed on a particular ideology and said that the committee, that will submit its recommendations next week, has tried to have a balanced approach on the history syllabus.

"It (existing History syllabus) highlighted only the communist movements. We have omitted Russian revolution, but kept Lenin and the Chinese revolution in the syllabus. If we had any intention to leave out communisms, then why did we include Chinese revolution, Lenin?

"It is unfair if the children are only taught about these theories and they do not have any understanding of Green Revolution, Chipko movement or Nelson Mandela," Mazumdar tolda newspaper.

More from Sify: