The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has decided to include the values and knowledge systems of ancient India into their textbooks. A report by Indian Express states that, NCERT textbooks will now have additional information on Ayurveda, Upanishads, Smritis, Yoga and other scientific achievements of ancient India in areas such as Astronomy, Metallurgy, Chemistry and Indian Philosophy.
The history textbooks of Class 6 will now include a chapter on Yoga as well as chapters on six schools of Indian Philosophy, Vaishesika, Nyaya, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimansa and Vedanta or Uttara Mimansa. In the geography book, NCERT has added more information about Aryabhatta which includes his work on the earth’s diameter, solar and lunar eclipses.
The class 6 science book has defined Yoga as “an invaluable gift of the ancient Indian tradition”, while the class 10 science textbook has information about Atharva Veda to demonstrate how sustainable living has always been an integral part of India’s tradition and culture.
The science textbook of class 8 states “In ancient India, our ancestors performed methodical observations of the sky. Their knowledge of astronomy was highly advanced for their time. Passage of the Sun, stars, moon and planets in the sky helped them to devise calendars and almanacs”. Class 8 science textbook, NCERT has now included a chapter on what ancient Indian mythology says about the constellation Ursa Major, also known as Saptarshi. It states, “According to ancient mythology the seven sages who form the Saptarshi, preserve the eternal knowledge of Vedas and explain it to people in every new age.”
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had mentioned that NCERT will work on giving students a better understanding of Bharat and its “glorious past”. “We will replicate such courses with NCERT because we think our true identity begins with the identity of our nation. Without knowing it, we will not be able to decipher the truth about the world. We are open to discussions about the value of our past,” Javadekar had then said.
These changes are part of a process of reviewing textbooks by NCERT, which includes the addition of new information, correction and data updation of existing curricula. NCERT has made around 1334 changes in its 182 textbooks. Of these, the science books have seen major corrections in 573, followed by social sciences and Sanskrit wit 316 and 163 changes respectively. These comprehensive reviews of the textbooks are made to the textbooks as per the public feedback received by the council.
Earlier, in a boost to the research on ancient Indian knowledge systems, IIT-Kharagpur had decided to link ancient science and technology to modern sciences. The new course intends to create an enabling environment to know about the contributions of ancient Indian scientists and show its relevance for modern times.