CBSE Drops Verses from Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Poems from Class 10 Curriculum

New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has excluded two excerpts from poems written by renowned Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz from its curriculum for the academic year 2022-23, which was released on Thursday, April 21, the Indian Express reported.

The two excerpts had been part of the curriculum for over 10 years as part of the section on ‘Religion, Communalism and Politics – Communalism, Secular State’ in the Class 10 National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbook, Democratic Politics II.

The excerpts were included in two images which showed posters created by Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), an NGO, and the Voluntary Health Association of India; both of which were removed from the syllabus.

According to the Express, the ANHAD poster quoted the lines:

“Not enough to shed tears, to suffer anguish, not enough to nurse love in secret… Today, walk in the public square fettered in chains.”

These lines were reportedly taken from Aaj Bazaar Me Pa Ba Jola Chalo (Let Us Walk in the Market in Shackles), one of Faiz’s poems written at a time when he was in jail in Lahore. He penned the specific poem when he was being transported from the jail to the dentist’s office in a tonga, himself in chains, crossing lanes familiar to him as he was recognised by passers-by.

Also read: Calling Faiz’s Hum Dekhenge ‘Anti-Hindu’ Is Both Laughable and Insulting

The other poster, issued by the Voluntary Health Association, quoted lines from Dhaka Se Wapsi Par (On Returning From Dhaka): 

“We remain strangers even after so many meetings, blood stains remain even after so many rains.”

Faiz wrote the lines translated above after returning from a visit to Bangladesh in 1974, three years after the country’s war for independence.

In addition to the Faiz verses, a cartoon by Ajith Nath, published in the Times of India, has also been removed from the curriculum. The cartoon shows an empty chair which carries a variety of religious symbols along with the caption: “This chair is for the CM-designate to prove his secular credentials…There will be plenty of rocking!”

Other exclusions

The Express report details several other components of the existing curriculum that have been removed for the upcoming academic year. 

In the Democratic Politics II textbook itself, chapters on ‘Democracy and Diversity’, ‘Popular Struggle Movement’ and ‘Challenges to Democracy’ have been removed. It is worth noting that the first of these chapters deals with social divisions and inequalities along caste, race and other lines in countries all over the world, including India.

From the history curriculum for Class 11, a chapter on ‘Central Islamic Lands’ has been removed, the Express reported.

Additionally, content on the “impact of globalisation on agriculture” has been removed from the Class 10 syllabus and one on the “Cold War era and the Non-Aligned Movement” has been removed from the Class 12 political science syllabus. 

Some chapters on mathematical reasoning have also been left out of the syllabus for Class 11.

Featured image: Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

This article was first published on The Wire.