The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) has removed ‘Jamun Ka Ped’, a well-known satire on red tape penned by noted Hindi and Urdu writer Krishan Chander, from the Hindi syllabus of Class X, giving rise to speculation about the real motive behind the move.
As per a report carried by The Telegraph, chief executive and ICSE secretary Gerry Arathoon said the decision was taken because the story was “not appropriate for Class X students”.
‘Jamun Ka Ped’, written in the 1960s satirises bureaucratic red tape through the story of a man, a well-known poet, who needs to be rescued from under a Jamun tree. Since the rules are considered more important than saving an individual’s life, the buck is passed by the bureaucrats until it reaches the prime minister’s office.
‘Jamun Ka Ped’, thus, essentially questions the centralised system of governance.
The officials reportedly saw the story as a ‘criticism of the present establishment’ of “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat” (One Nation, Strong Nation).
The Narendra Modi government has, of late, come under criticism for not adhering to the federal structure of administration. Among those who levelled this charge is former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, who recently commented about the government: “It is centralising in practical terms, in that a lot of decisions are made in the Prime Minister’s Office.”
Interestingly, the Modi government, according to a Hindustan Times report carried today, has accused top bureaucrats of his government for “spoiling” his first term by “delaying” programme implementation and thereby his agenda
“Since its inception by then home minister Sardar Patel, the Indian bureaucracy has largely moved from a national to a self-serving agenda in which the focus is on processes, not outcomes”, the report claims, justifying the Modi government’s decision to introduce “a common foundation course for all group A services” from 2020-21 as “a first step to break the silos and elite clubs”.
Besides writing in Hindi and Urdu, Krishan Chander also wrote in English. He also penned screenplays for noted Bollywood films like Dharti Ke Lal, Mamta and Sharafat.
A video of the ‘Jamun Ka Ped’ story