A Press Conference on NCERT addressed by Prof Irfan Habib

  Three and a half months ago the people of India gave a decisive verdict against the divisive and communal policies of the BJP Government and put in its place the Government of United Progressive Alliance, which, with the support of other secular Parties, has an overwhelming majority in Parliament. However, the BJP has not accepted the popular verdict and in true fascist fashion has brought to a standstill the functioning of Parliament. It has not only thus directly attacked India’s democratic structure, it has also taken the road of reviving communal hatred. As writers, artists, educationists, historians and academics from various disciplines, we feel it our duty to warn our fellow citizens to be vigilant about the conspiracy being hatched by the BJP against our democratic institutions and the unity of the country.
As to the two issues on which BJP continued the disruption of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, in the last days of the budget session, namely, those of Miss Uma Bharati and V.D. Savarkar, it must be emphasized that neither has anything at all to do with our national honour. Whatever the fate of the criminal proceedings against her, it was Miss Uma Bharati who insulted the national flag by using it as an excuse to ignite a communal flare-up which resulted in considerable loss of human life. As for Savarkar, while no one disputes his services to the freedom struggle before his incarceration in the  Andamans, the facts of his later political life, his apologetic undertakings to the British Government, his “two-nation” pronouncements, his Hindutva communalism, and his post-Andamans abstention from the freedom struggle, are all established facts. Finally, he must always remain under a cloud in the case of the assassination of the Father of our Nation. It is extremely hurtful to the sentiments of people to demand that Savarkar be paid homage on behalf of the whole nation in any manner whatsoever.Simultaneously, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar are seeking to prevent the desaffronization of school text books by a campaign of vilification and disinformation. The fantasies and falsehoods introduced into the NCERT school text books


under the BJP regime are now being sought to be passed off merely as a part of “nationalist” exposition of history as against a “Leftist” one in the older text books, as if “nationalism” (read communalism) canlegitimise wholesale departures from truth. To call any corrective action against the BJP regime’s poison-laden text books as “anti-national” is an unacceptable belittling of the nation itself. We also wish to ask the RSS what contribution did the RSS ever make to the freedom struggle? And will they not too, like Savarkar, ever remain under a cloud over Gandhiji’s murder, what with their constant tirade of abuse against him over his defence of Hindu –Muslim unity and their spontaneous jubilation all over the country after his martyrdom?These facts cannot be erased from our memory, no matter how much noise and rowdyism the BJP lets loose.            Let people be on guard!Irfan Habib, Prabhat Patnaik, Geetha Hariharan, M.K.Raina, R.S.Sharma, B.P.Sahu, Madhu Prasad, Amiyo Kumar Bagchi, Atluri Murali     , Javed Alam, Ram Rahman, Vivan Sundaram, Arjun Dev, Shamshad, Anil Chandra, Indira Chandrasekhar, Jayati Ghosh, Nalini Taneja, Ashok Rao, C.P.Chandrasekhar, Sohail Hashmi, Teesta Setalvad, G.P.Sharma, Kumkum Sangari, Zoya Hasan, D.N.Jha, Geeta Kapur, Venkatesh Athreya
Suraj Bhan, K.L.Tuteja, N.Rajendran   , Lima Kanungo, B.P.Sharma, Biswamoy Pati, Kanti Mohan, Zahoor Siddiqui, Lata Singh, Utsa Patnaik, R.C.Thakran, Madan Gopal Singh, Rajinder Arora, S.B.Rai, Shireen Moosvi, Jhabri Mal Parekh, Archana Prasad, V.M.Jha, Vijaya Thakur, Sukumar Murlidharan, Praveen Jha, M.A.Jawed, SNR Rizvi, Aditya Mukherjee, K.K.Sharma, B.P.Mishra, V.Ramakrishna, Arun Bandopadhyaya, Suvira Jaiswal, A.Satyanarayan, A. Bobbili, Suranjan Das, SZH Jaffri, Amar Faruqui, R.L.Shukla, A.K.Thakur, R.P.Bahuguna, Sitaram Rai, Datanand Rai, Nasir Tayabji, Ramakrishna Chatterjee, Mahendra Pratap Singh.