Aruna Roy’s Open Letter to Rajasthan’s Chief Secretary on Removal of RTI Chapter from School Books

Dear Shri. Rajan,

We were shocked to read the attached news items in the Times of India, and on the front page of the Dainik Navjyoti about removing the RTI Chapter, (Chapter 12, page 105 ) from the curriculum on Social Sciences , and from the 8th class school text book in Rajasthan. In the hurry to re write history and manipulate text books for political reasons, the government is hurting the sentiments of ordinary people, burying the truth, and actually attempting to obliterate acknowledgement of a contribution that should be of pride to the whole state.

I do not need to remind the government about the fundamental role played by ordinary people, and peoples’ movements in Rajasthan, in fashioning the RTI for the whole country. This contribution is acknowledged and is part of many curricula the world over, including the Kennedy School of Governance in Harvard, and in eminent universities in Europe and the Americas. We attach a copy of the Chapter from the text book which was in use this year, and would like to know what was objectionable to warrant blacking it out.

We are also aware that many other changes have been made in the text books in Rajasthan reflecting the bias of the political rulers. The process of writing and re-writing text books cannot be the arbitrary prerogative of the ruling political party, but must be left to an independent process dependent on a dialogue between academics. We demand that the changes to the text book be put on hold, and an open dialogue be established to determine if there is any need for amending the text books, and if so, what these amendments should be.

We are also aware that serious questions have been raised about the costs of reprinting text books, and the concurrent difficulty for students to access them.

Please find attached of the letter and We look forward to an early response.

With regards,

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh

Letter to chief Secretry Rajasthan