New Delhi: From the Haryana authorities together with paragraphs on Congress’ “appeasement coverage” in a Class 9 historical past e book, and Karnataka including a speech by RSS founder Ok.B. Hedgewar to a Class 10 textual content, to the Gujarat authorities incorporating elements of the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ within the Class 6-10 syllabi. 

A sequence of selections taken by totally different states has put the highlight again on the controversy across the institution tailoring faculty texts to go well with its political bent.

The talk isn’t a brand new one.

The erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA authorities was criticised by historians for what was described as its bid to “saffronise schooling”.

Allegations have additionally been levelled on the Congress for focusing an excessive amount of on Mughal historical past in textbooks and leaving out details about “Hindu rulers”, in addition to the contribution of “varied segments of Indian society to historical past”.

In Rajasthan, textbooks are stated to vary each 5 years as the 2 events alternate in energy.

Political gamers defend their choices to tweak textbooks as a response to rivals’ makes an attempt to govern the narrative.

However historians and educational specialists urge warning. You will need to replace texts as extra data involves gentle, they are saying, however add that no winners can come off turning textbooks into ideological battlegrounds.


Additionally Learn: Gender equality, satisfaction in India: What govt goals to attain with new faculty curriculum below NEP


Congress ‘appeasement’, RSS’ Hedgewar & Bhagavad Gita

In Haryana, the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP authorities has changed textbooks for lessons 6 to 10 in state faculties. An inventory of the identical has been put up on the official web site of the Haryana Board of Faculty Schooling (HBSE).

The transfer made headlines earlier this month.

A Class 9 historical past textbook being launched by the HBSE from the present educational session claims that the Congress’ “greed for energy” is likely one of the causes for India’s Partition in 1947.

This has been defined in a portion titled “Congress’s appeasement politics (Congress ki tushtikaran ki niti)”, in response to which the celebration’s leaders have been unable to face as much as the “Muslim League’s demand for a separate Muslim nation”.

One other portion of the identical textual content claims that Congress leaders have been “drained” of the liberty battle, due to which the Partition occurred.

“One of many primary causes behind Partition is taken into account to be the fatigue inside Congress and its greed for energy. Fixed battle for freedom had drained the Congress management, they weren’t able to battle anymore. Some Congress leaders needed instant freedom and energy,” learn a paragraph in a chapter titled ‘India’s Partition, integration of princely states and rehabilitation of the displaced’ within the Class 9 textbook.

“When Gandhi opposed Partition, the leaders weren’t excited with the thought and he needed to settle for Partition,” it additional learn.

One other chapter within the e book has a portion on RSS founder Ok.B. Hedgewar and the position of Hindutva leaders in peacekeeping in 1922. 

The portion claims that after repeated assaults on Hindus, Hedgewar and Balakrishna Shivram Moonje — a member of the Congress who later grew to become president of the Hindu Mahasabha — determined to kind a gaggle for the safety of Hindus.

In a Class 6 textbook, there’s a chapter referred to as the ‘Ramayana and Mahabharat interval’. Utilizing a map of India, the chapter factors out archaeological excavation websites to say that the epics have been primarily based on true occasions.

Different modifications within the syllabus embody quite a lot of chapters in regards to the Mughal invasion of India and the way native rulers fought again.

The Haryana controversy was quickly adopted by the same one in Karnataka — one other BJP-ruled state.

The Basavaraj Bommai authorities in Karnataka was accused of eradicating a chapter on freedom fighter Bhagat Singh from the Class 10 Kannada textbook, together with works of progressive thinkers like Kannada poet P. Lankesh, the founder-editor of Lankesh Patrike, Sara Aboobacker, a outstanding Muslim Kannada author, and A.N. Murthy Rao.

Whereas Karnataka Textbooks Overview Committee head Rohith Chakratirtha informed ThePrint that they haven’t eliminated the chapter on Bhagat Singh, he accepted that works of different authors had been taken out. This, he stated, was achieved due to complaints that the syllabus was solely favouring a “sure ideology”.

Like Haryana, Karnataka, too, launched a portion on Hedgewar in its Class 10 Kannada textbook. Chakratirtha defended the transfer, saying it was only a speech the place Hedgewar says that as an alternative of worshipping people, one ought to observe values that won’t change over time, and had nothing to do together with his ideology.

In March, the Karnataka authorities additionally stated that it’s considering introducing the Bhagavad Gita as a part of “ethical science” classes in state-run faculties.

Gujarat Schooling Minister Jitu Vaghani had introduced earlier the identical month that college youngsters from lessons 6 to 12 will probably be taught the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ as a part of their syllabi. The minister had stated that the thought is to introduce the “values enshrined” within the non secular textual content within the curriculum.

Many states adopted go well with. Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, all-BJP dominated states, introduced they may introduce the Gita as part of their curriculum at totally different ranges.

Tagore story eliminated, chapter on Modi govt dropped

In July final yr, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh authorities — additionally a BJP-led state — made main modifications to the Class 10 and 12 syllabi of state-run faculties.

The Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UPMSP), also called the UP Board, eliminated the works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and former President Dr S. Radhakrishnan from the 2021-22 educational session.

Tagore’s quick story The Homecoming and Dr Radhakrishnan’s essay The Girls’s Schooling have been faraway from the Class 12 syllabus. Mulk Raj Anand’s The Misplaced Little one, and An Astrologer’s Day by R.Ok. Narayan have been additionally taken out.

The board officers had stated on the time that the modifications are in line with the implementation of the brand new NCERT syllabus for English.

The change in syllabus isn’t just restricted to BJP-ruled states. In 2019, simply months after Congress’ Ashok Gehlot grew to become Rajasthan’s chief minister, the state authorities discontinued 4 textbooks that talked in regards to the Modi authorities’s insurance policies, which have been being taught in state board faculties below his predecessor Vasundhara Raje.

State schooling minister Govind Singh Dotasra had stated the federal government didn’t see any “profit” in educating the scholars in regards to the insurance policies.


Additionally Learn: In push for Bhagavad Gita in faculties, Karnataka Congress finds new ‘Hindutva vs Hinduism’ pivot


In states’ justifications, an NEP push

Each Haryana and Gujarat have defended the newest modifications they’ve made to high school texts by saying that these are being carried out as a part of the brand new Nationwide Schooling Coverage (NEP) 2020 — which proposes sweeping reforms within the nation’s schooling sector — that requires a extra ‘India-centric’ schooling.

Gujarat Schooling Minister Jitu Vaghani stated his authorities’s choice to introduce the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ in class curricula was consistent with the brand new NEP.

“The choice was consistent with the Union authorities’s Nationwide Schooling Coverage 2020, which recommends the introduction of contemporary and historic tradition, traditions and information programs in order that college students really feel pleased with India’s wealthy and various tradition,” Vaghani had stated within the state legislative meeting on 18 March.

The Haryana state board (HSBE), too, stated the revisions it had made to the college curriculum have been consistent with the NEP, which talks about “rootedness and satisfaction in India” as certainly one of its goals.

“The imaginative and prescient… is to instill among the many learners a deep-rooted satisfaction in being Indian, not solely in thought, but in addition in spirit, mind, and deeds, in addition to to develop information, abilities, values, and inclinations that help accountable dedication to human rights, sustainable improvement and residing, and international well-being, thereby reflecting a very international citizen,” reads the coverage doc.

As a part of the coverage, the central authorities is at present within the technique of growing the Nationwide Curriculum Framework (NCF) that can information syllabus formation and the way faculty textbooks are designed within the coming years. ‘Pleasure in India’ can be one of many broader themes of the NCF.

BJP nationwide spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan stated that whoever has any considerations relating to the modifications made to high school curricula is free to problem and method the stakeholders concerned.

“Every time there’s any change within the syllabus, it’s achieved after a discourse with the general public and all related stakeholders. If anybody has any drawback with it, they’ll method the authorities,” he informed ThePrint. “If studying and understanding about our proud Indian tradition, historical past and civilisation is saffronisation to some, so be it.”

Paswan stated “we also needs to pay attention to the best way our historical past has been rewritten post-Independence”. 

“Our youthful era right this moment doesn’t learn about a lot of our unsung heroes. That is why we would have liked to have fun Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav [Centre’s initiative to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of Independence], as a result of folks ought to know that there are numerous people and organisations which have immensely contributed in the direction of constructing the nation,” he added.

Requested to touch upon claims that Hindutva-inspired materials was being included in class textbooks, Paswan stated, “Those that suppose {that a} specific faith is being given significance, ought to research intimately. That is India’s historical past and we have now each proper to take satisfaction within the nation’s historical past.”

Karnataka’s Major and Secondary Schooling Minister B.C. Nagesh stated that his authorities was attempting to show “actual historical past”.

“We don’t consider in educating half-truths, that’s the reason we have now revised the textbooks,” he informed ThePrint.

Nagesh stated the chapter on Bhagat Singh by “communist author” G. Ramakrishna was changed by one by author Chakravarty Sulibele. The minister additionally alleged that the textbooks revised by the earlier assessment committee have been stuffed with “lies and misinformation”.

“The speech by Hedgewar has been included as a result of it talks about position fashions. It has nothing in regards to the author, organisation or any political celebration,” he added.

On his authorities’s plans to incorporate the Gita within the syllabus, Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Durgesh Keswani stated they have been meant to respect the widespread folks’s sentiments.

“The earlier Congress authorities praised the Mughals and whitewashed their sins in historical past textbooks. We’re solely taking a optimistic step within the route of constructing folks extra privy to Indian tradition and superb historical past,” he added. “The fundamental distinction is that we’re advocating Gita whereas they (opposition) are advocating Mughal invaders. Gita must be learn by each particular person. Whoever reads it, their outlook in the direction of life modifications.”

What educationists & historians say

Educationists ThePrint spoke to have been of the view that whereas you will need to change, and, extra importantly, replace the syllabus, the identical shouldn’t be impressed by political ideologies.

“It’s certainly vital to vary syllabi and texts as we perceive higher the calls for of modernity from pedagogical instruments. These are choices that must be taken after cautious consideration and with a view on what abilities and information we have to present our youth as they tackle the following industrial revolution,” Amirullah Khan, a professor at Dr Marri Channa Reddy Human Useful resource Improvement Institute of Telangana, informed ThePrint.

“Political ideologists rewriting historical past and redefining science is sadly suicidal for any schooling system,” he stated.

Meeta Sengupta, an educator who based the Centre for Schooling Technique, a Delhi-based suppose tank, stated, “For a lot of nations and all through historical past, schooling has been a political software, however that occurs solely once we are caught in a single story. 

“With an schooling system that encourages important considering, additionally advisable by the NEP, the textbook ideally must be only a take-off level for elevating questions and never looking for solutions.”

When the Vajpayee authorities had proposed new historical past books in 2001, the modifications have been closely criticised by historians.

The brand new historical past books have been to say that Aryans return to the fourth millennium BC — previous even the Indus Valley civilisation of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa — and that they weren’t migrants from Iran.

British political and cultural journal New Statesman had in a December 2001 concern revealed an article on the matter, below the headline ‘India strikes to talibanise historical past’.

The BJP’s ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had additionally weighed in with the declare that Kshatriyas (Hindu warriors) have been the ancestors of the Chinese language. References to consumption of beef have been additionally proposed to be faraway from textbooks over their potential to deprave higher caste, Hindu youngsters.

Historians Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib, amongst others, had criticised the modifications that have been instructed by a “assessment committee”. In response to them, the panel didn’t embody historians.

“RSS’ conspiracy in opposition to historical past have to be a matter of concern for each citizen of India who has any care in any respect for the secular and democratic character of our republic,” Habib wrote in an article in One India One Folks journal in June 2001.

In response to the Vajpayee authorities’s transfer, Thapar had written a chunk within the Hindustan Occasions in December 2001 titled ‘Propaganda as historical past gained’t promote’.

“That is additionally an assault on the basics of buying and dealing with information. If information is to progress in any subject there must be a important enquiry and analyses of the topic, and this consists of the exploration of standard, controversial and sceptical concepts,” she wrote.

The modifications have been ultimately not made within the textbooks by NCERT. 

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)


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