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Textbooks shouldn’t further party politics

Textbooks shouldn’t further party politics

NCERT is pushing a partisan agenda

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Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 23:49 IST
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 23:49 IST
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The revisions made by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in the history, sociology, and political science textbooks of Classes VI to XII are controversial, and do not meet the best academic standards. Learning materials, and even methods of teaching, need to be revised periodically to keep students abreast of developments in all areas of study.

Knowledge creation is a continuous process and fresh research throws up new findings and insights. They need to be shared with students. But the NCERT is providing partisan perspectives in its new study materials. This is especially obvious in the case of history and political science. It has made insertions, deletions, and additions which do not pass muster with educationists and experts.

References to the Aryan migration theory have been removed from the textbooks, on the argument that a DNA analysis of excavation sites has established a continuity between the Harappan people and Vedic-era communities. Hindu nationalists have always denied the theory, but their position has not been endorsed by most historians and scientists. When views diverge on a matter, the right course is to present all views and encourage students to probe them.

The new textbook presents Ayodhya developments as ‘associated with the rise of the BJP and the politics of Hindutva.’ Some references to the demolition of the Babri masjid have been removed.

The sequence of events related to the demolition has been revised, and the lesson gives importance to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement which it says has ‘transformed the direction of the discourse on secularism and democracy.’

References to the implementation of the Mandal Commission report and the 1991 economic reforms have been revised. The revisions also avoid references to the poverty of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities and matters related to caste, which the ruling dispensation does not want to highlight. 

According to the NCERT, the changes incorporate recent developments in politics. It says that ‘the text on Ayodhya has been thoroughly revised because of the changes brought by the Supreme Court’s verdict…. and its widespread welcoming reception.’

All the changes, however, show that they have been made to suit the ideological and political positions and interests of the Sangh parivar. Classrooms should not be turned into spaces for teaching partisan politics, and ideological positions should not be imposed on students.

NCERT is pushing a partisan agendaMultiple narratives, versions, and views should be made available to them. The NCERT should not feed students with a revised history, and a view of society and politics that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is propagating.

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