The Assam government has drawn flak for the exclusion of Padamshree Pratima Barua Pandey from the chapter of the Class VII book of the state board syllabus.
The Dhubri district unit of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has strongly criticized the state government policy over the exclusion of the biography of the cultural icon of Lower Assam, who is known as an exponent of Goalparia Lokgeet (folk song), from school textbook.
“On one hand, the state government is announcing to provide pension and other benefits to the cultural artistes, on the other hand, the same government has removed the chapter on Pratima Barua Pandey from the books of the state board syllabus,” said Dhubri AASU.
Saurabh Bhattacharjee, general secretary of Dhubri AASU said, “We have conveyed our sentiments to our state committee and urged it to raise the issue before the authorities concerned as well as the state government.”
Prabir Barua, a family member of the Barua dynasty of Gauripur, also expressed resentment over the matter.
Barua said, “Pratima Barua Pandey is not just a name, but a music legend and beyond that, she is the cultural icon and identity of Lower Assam and Goalparia folk songs.”
He also smelt a conspiracy in the matter with the involvement of the state board officials who are engaged in the preparation of the school curriculum.
“They are doing their job in a biased manner with an ulterior motive to abolish the identity of the Goalparia folk and culture among the children and new generations,” alleged Barua.
Lata Sarkar, principal of Dhubri Girls’ Higher Secondary School, also expressed her resentment.
She said in the last academic calendar, there was a chapter on Padamshree Pratima Barua Pandey in the Modern Indian Language (MIL) book namely ‘Natun Path’ under the title ‘Kanthe-Kanthe’.
‘Kanthe-Kanthe’ was included in Chapter No 21 covering page No 131 to 135 for the students of Class VII.
“The objective was to provide rich content on Goalparia folk culture and song exponent Pratima Barua Pandey to students so that they can have a better understanding of the subject,” said Sarkar.
“But in the new syllabus, the chapter on her biography is not available in the Class VII MIL book, namely ‘Ankuran’ and the reason behind it is best known to the authorities concerned,” Sarkar added.