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Controversies Brew Over Question on Mahatma Gandhi in Bengal Secondary School Exam

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Controversies Brew Over Question on Mahatma Gandhi in Bengal Secondary School Exam

KOLKATA —┬áControversies have started brewing over a controversial question in the history paper in the ongoing secondary examination conducted by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Examination (WBBSE).

The controversies were over essay-type questions, where the examinees were asked to choose one of the three choices pertaining to the question about the Father of the Nation and write an explanatory essay on it.

The main question was whether Mahatma Gandhi always disassociated itself with the worker’s movement of the country. The three choices given to examinees on the reasons for this disassociation were a) Mahatma Gandhi always represented the lobby of mill owners b) Mahatma Gandhi wanted to avoid collision between labour and capital and c) Mahatma Gandhi was worried about the fallout of the movement on law & order situation.

Historians and different teachers’ associations have strongly criticised the development and claimed that the question is not only controversial but also disseminates wrong information. “Nowhere in the secondary syllabus there is any mention that Mahatma Gandhi disassociated himself from the worker’s movement. It is evident that the person who drafted this question never had the history in his mind or syllabus,” said a member of All Bengal Teachers’ Association.

Historian A.K. Das pointed out that one of the major and successful movements spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi was “Ahmedabad Satyagraha” in March 1918. “This was basically a movement of the textile mill workers in Ahmedabad, where the Father of the Nation even went on a hunger strike in support of the mill workers’ demand for a 35 per cent hike in their wage. So, this is nothing but a distortion of history,’ Das said.

The WBBSE authorities have, however, claimed that at times such questions are posed in a different style to measure intelligence quotient of the students attempting the question. They have also assured that while evaluation of the answer paper the interest of the examinees will be kept in mind and under no circumstance the examinees will suffer. — IANS

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