Press Release

letter written by Harkishan Singh Surjeet, General Secretary of the CPI(M) to Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee.

December 21, 2001

Dear Shri Vajpayeeji,

It is indeed amazing that the Human Resources Development Minister, Shri Murli Manohar Joshi’s provocative actions and vituperative outbursts are being condoned by you. This only gives credence to the belief that after installing RSS men in key ministries, the incumbents are permitted to muzzle through the RSS ideology, unhindered.

In his latest motivated and highly partisan approach, Mr. Joshi , addressing the national executive of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha castigated the "Left historians," whom he accused of indulging in "intellectual terrorism," which according to him is "more dangerous than cross-border terrorism". By making such a sweeping statement the HRD minister is revealing his fascist mentality and intolerance. Not stopping at that, Mr. Joshi called upon the Yuva Morcha activists to counter "both types of terrorism" effectively. Mr. Joshi has left little doubt that he is using this canard based on fabrication and lies in order to cover up his entire effort at communalising education and rewriting Indian history.

It is indeed surprising that you have failed to rein in your HRD minister who from his first day in office has been mired in controversy.

On his very first day in office Mr. Joshi, appointed Mr. BR Grover as the Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR). Mr. Grover was rewarded for organising ‘evidence’, as the VHP representative on a Govt. panel on the Babri Masjid dispute, to argue that a Ram temple indeed existed on the Babri Masjid site. The entire Council of the Indian Council of Historical Research was reconstituted to achieve a near monopoly for the RSS in this important institution. The Indian Council of Social Science Research , the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (Simla), the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting), and the All India Council for Technical Education, the Indian Institute for Philosophical Research, the Archaeological Survey of India, the National Museum, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the NCERT, and NIEPA have all been similarly revamped.

Regardless of the fact that Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi did not manage to push through his agenda formally at the State Education Ministers’ Conference held in September 1998, he has been defiantly implementing it.

A new curriculum has been thrust on the nation despite protests and disapproval from a significant section of the academic and political community from across a broad spectrum. Courses in Vedic Astrology, karmakand, yogic consciousness etc. are being pushed through by the government.

The exercise at rewriting of history textbooks is meant to do away with books written by Romila Thapar, RS Sharma, Bipan Chandra, Satish Chandra, and Arjun Dev. They are scholars of international repute. Such has been their scholastic reputation that no one, except fascist minds with a jingoistic outlook, have labelled them. Far from castigating them, India should be proud to have intellectuals of such calibre.

At Mr. Joshi’s behest the component of history in the school syllabus is sought to be tailored to suit the RSS designs and concerns. Anybody challenging such acts is termed anti-national or a westerner.

Despite Mr. Joshi generating a lot of controversy for unabashed propagation of the Hindutva ideology and attacks on anything that is considered secular and antipathy to the ideology followed by him, surprisingly, you have refrained from controlling him, if atleast to console your allies, some of whom may have objections. Unfortunately, you do not seem to be doing so. This only exposes your secular proclamations. This gives rise to justified apprehensions of a threat to India’s pluralistic, multi-ethnic, multi-national and multicultural society, with its secular edifice under attack.

With regards