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Jamun ka ped

ICSE drops satirical story ‘Jamun ka ped’ 3 months before Class 10 boards

November 7, 2019

Barely three months before board exams noted Hindi writer Krishan Chander’s story ‘Jamun Ka Ped’, a well-known satire on red tape has been dropped by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) from it’s class 10 Hindi syllabus.

While the council has not given any reason for the move, the decision is being questioned by noted poets.

An official order by the ICSE said, “The story, titled ‘Jamun Ka Ped’, by Krishna Chander under short stories of Hindi ICSE (class 10) prescribed textbook will not be tested for the year 2020 and 2021 examination. The concerned teachers and candidates should be informed accordingly.”

Gerry Arathoon, Secretary and Chief Executive of the council, refused to comment on the reasons behind the move. It was also not clear whether the decision has been taken for only 2020 and 2021 academic sessions or will be reversed later.

About Jamun Ka Ped

‘Jamun Ka Ped’, written in the 1960s, is a satire on bureaucratic red tape told through the story of a well-known poet who gets trapped under a Jamun tree in the lawns of a secretariat building after a thunderstorm.

The tree needs to be cut for the poet to be rescued but the story talks about how the buck keeps on passing from a gardener, who reports the matter to a peon, who takes it further to the clerk and then it reaches the building superintendent.

After clearance from the forest department, the request lands up with the culture department since the person involved was a poet, who then passes it to the foreign affairs department as the tree was planted by the prime minister of a neighbouring country.

The department rejects the request saying it may affect ties with the country and ultimately the matter is referred to the Prime Minister’s Office but the PM is on a foreign trip.

The request is placed before the prime minister when he returns and ultimately a go-ahead is given for cutting the tree to save the man. By the time the order from the PMO reaches the building superintendent, the poet dies.

Apart from writing stories in Hindi and Urdu, Chander also penned screenplays for noted Bollywood films like ‘Dharti Ke Lal’, ‘Mamta’ and ‘Sharafat’. 

Veteran Hindi poet Ashok Chakradhar said the students are mature enough to understand the satire. He said, “I think students of class 10 are mature enough to understand satire and decide what is appropriate or inappropriate. If the decision-makers think red tape is over in the country then they should sure remove ‘Jamun Ka Ped’ from textbooks because the story’s purpose has been achieved.”

A Hindi teacher in tier-3 city school in Uttar Pradesh said ‘Jaamun ka Ped’ never lost its relevance in the two decades of his career and his students were “disappointed” by the decision. “When I told children in the class that this story has been removed from the course, they were disappointed. They demanded that another ‘boring’ story be removed instead as they liked ‘Jaamun ka Ped’ a lot.”

Source: PTI

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