July 20, 2024

MOON Desk: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in India has come under criticism after removing references to freedom fighter and India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad from the class 11 political science textbook. The references were removed as part of the NCERT’s “syllabus rationalisation” exercise in June 2022, which also saw the removal of lessons on various topics, including the Gujarat riots, Mughal courts, Emergency, Cold War, and the Naxalite movement from its textbooks. The NCERT claims that the changes were made due to “overlapping” and “irrelevant” content in the syllabus, but critics argue that this is an attempt to rewrite history and remove certain political and social events from the curriculum.

In the revised textbook, references to Azad’s name have been omitted from the constituent assembly committee meetings, and a paragraph regarding Jammu and Kashmir’s conditional accession has also been deleted.

In the older version of the textbook, a paragraph in the first chapter read, “The Constituent Assembly had eight major Committees on different subjects. Usually, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad or Ambedkar chaired these Committees. These were not men who agreed with each other on many things. Ambedkar had been a bitter critic of the Congress and Gandhi, accusing them of not doing enough for the upliftment of Scheduled Castes. Patel and Nehru disagreed on many issues. Nevertheless, they all worked together.”

The revised version of the textbook reads, The Hindu found that Azad’s name had been dropped from the new version, with the relevant sentence now saying, “Usually, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel or B.R. Ambedkar chaired these Committees.”

What else is missing from the textbooks?

“Gandhiji’s death had magical effect on communal situation in the country”, “Gandhi’s pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists” and “Organisations like RSS were banned for some time” are among the texts missing from the class 12 political science textbook for the new academic session.

The portions referring to Gujarat riots have also been dropped from class 11 sociology textbook, months after NCERT removed the reference to the 2022 communal violence in two class 12 textbooks.


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