In Manipur, question on ‘BJP symbol’ sparks row

Kusum Tewari

IMPHAL: Opposition parties in
Manipur on Sunday reacted strongly to some of the questions asked in the political science paper of Class XII Manipur state board examinations.

The paper asked students to “Draw the election symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party” and “Examine any four negative traits of Nehru’s approach to Nation Building”. The question paper has now gone viral on social media.

Congress legislature and Manipur PCC spokesperson Kh Joykishan alleged that such questions are an attempt to instil a certain kind of political mindset among students. “There is a need to look into the rationale behind such questions and the syllabus from which they were taken,” he said.

An act of politicising education: Congress leader
Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur (COHSEM) chairman L Mahendra Singh told TOI, “I spoke to the examination controller on the issue and I was told that the questions were set from the ‘Party System in India’ chapter, which is a part of the political science syllabus.”

President of Manipur University Teachers’ Association (Muta), Maibam Ranjit Singh said, “These (questions) should not have been asked. Even if the question setters put these kinds of questions, I think the moderator should have set them aside.”

CPI national executive member and former MLA Moirangthem Nara said, “The manner of setting such questions only indicates a political affiliation.”

General secretary of Manipur unit BJP N Nimbus Singh, however, said “negative traits of Nehru’s approach to nation building” is a relevant question since he was the country’s first prime minister. “Since Nehru played a role in building India, there might have been positives as well as negatives in the system under his leadership. This question simply seeks four negative traits of his approach to nation building. I think this question is okay,” added Nimbus.

However, on the question on BJP’s election symbol, he said, “I think this should not have been asked. The question setter has done something unpleasant.”

Veteran politician Okram Joy, while terming the questions as “an act of politicising education”, said “ it is not a good trend for education and democracy, and playing politics in education will not end in positive results.”

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