After row, Bihar university named after JP restores chapter on his views

Following an uproar, the Bihar government has asked JP University in Chhapra to restore chapters on socialist icons Jayaprakash Narayan and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia that were taken off the university’s political science Master’s syllabus three years ago.

The administration of the university, which is named after Jayaprakash Narayan, has said it was a mistake to accept the new syllabus from which the chapters on JP, Lohia, and the communist revolutionary M N Roy had been dropped.

Bihar Education Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary took note of the matter after protests from students, academics, and opposition leaders including RJD president Lalu Prasad.

Lalu tweeted in Hindi on Wednesday: “I had established a university named after JP in my karmabhoomi Chhapra 30 years ago. Now the Sanghi government of Bihar and officials with a Sanghi mindset have been removing chapters on the ideas of great socialist leaders from the university syllabus. This will not be tolerated. The government should take note of this at once.”

The chapters on the life and ideas of JP and Lohia were removed when the MA syllabus was revised during the gubernatorial tenure of veteran BJP leader Lalji Tandon between August 2018 and July 2019.

The Governor is ex officio chancellor of state universities. The new syllabus adopted by Raj Bhavan introduced the ‘choice-based credit system (CBCS)’, which followed a grading system of assessment, and which gave students the choice of selecting from a prescribed syllabus comprising core, elective, or skill-based courses.

While dropping the chapters on the ideology of socialist icons, the new syllabus retained a chapter on the JP movement, which produced the tallest leaders of Bihar in the last more than three decades — Lalu, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, and Sushil Kumar Modi. The new syllabus also included a chapter on the 2011 anti-corruption movement by Anna Hazare.

Former governor Tandon passed away last year.

JP University registrar R P Bablu told The Indian Express: “We had adopted the revised syllabus given by Raj Bhavan for our scheduled 2018-20 Master’s courses. We do not want to go into the merits or demerits of the decision, or the reasons why the chapters on JP and Lohia were dropped. But we will restore the chapters with immediate effect, as it is within our powers to do so.”

Bablu said the university was named after JP, and there could be no two ways about having a detailed chapter on his life and ideology. The scheduled 2018-20 Master’s programme is running late, and the university would ensure that the chapter is still taught, he said.

“We are going to add chapters on JP and Lohia in the second semester,” Bablu said. The chapters were in the first semester earlier.

Asked which committee of the then Raj Bhavan had chosen to omit the chapters on the two socialist icons, the registrar said: “I am not competent to comment on that. The Bihar education minister has already spoken to the university authorities. Chhapra is the land of JP, and students and academics were right in pointing out the mistake.”

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