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History books should teach India’s civilisational, linguistic heritage, not unfounded claims: Parliamentary Committee meets to discuss NCERT books

Former NCERT director JS Rajput and representatives of the Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM) told the committee that current history textbooks in schools have a lot of content that glorify Mughal rulers who invaded India. It sparsely mentions the role of Indian rulers including the Cholas and Pandyas

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education met on Wednesday to discuss the revision of current National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) history textbooks in schools. During the debate over the need for change in the syllabus, former NCERT director JS Rajput and representatives of the Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM) told the committee that current history textbooks in schools are not doing justice to the subcontinent’s contribution in cultural, artistic advances and a lot of other topics.

It sparsely mentions the role of Indian rulers including the Cholas and Pandyas, which has resulted in the distortion of ancient Indian history.

On Wednesday, the panel heard the arguments presented by the ex-NCERT director JS Rajput and Professor at the NCERT Shankar Sharan, as well as representatives of the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal and the Shiksha Sanskriti Nyas. The two organisations are affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Director of NCERT, CBSE Chairman and Secretary of School Education were also present at the meeting. 

Need to ensure proportionate references to all periods of Indian history

The panel had met to mainly discuss the need to remove references to un-historical facts and distortions about our national heroes, to ensure proportionate references to all periods of Indian history and to highlight the role of great women in Indian history.

“It has been over two decades since textbook reforms have been discussed at the platform of a Parliamentary Committee. We thought it fit to apply our mind considering the new National Education Policy is in place and new syllabus is being written,” Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education chairman and senior BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe told media.

According to reports, the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal emphasized that history textbooks should be written keeping in mind:

  • India’s cultural unity and linguistic heritage, including Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrutik and their international spread and influence.
  • Linking Indian languages
  • Civilisational development-Vedic to present
  • Comparison of scientific temper with other civilisations on scientific and objective ground
  • History of sacrifices of various segments of Indian society for preserving cultural values
  • Social inclusion
  • India and its cultural boundaries
  • Civilisational proofs of India in other countries of the world
  • Ensuring a proper place for religio-cultural emissaries from India

The representatives of the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal and the Shiksha Sanskriti Nyas also argued on similar lines, opining that there was a need for children to learn “Indian Culture from Vedic era onwards”. They also asserted that there is also the need to correct the influence of Marxist historians on Indian textbooks.

They stated that the publication agency should be able to provide proof and evidence of the text. They also added that colonial myths and their reality, like the Aryan Invasion Theory, which has now been dismissed with scientific evidence, should be discussed in the books too.

NCERT is currently in the process of revising textbooks and is likely to complete the process by 2024. The revision of the curriculum framework for school education is being done after 15 years. The Ministry has directed the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) that while redesigning textbooks, it is to be ensured that nothing but the core content is placed in them.

NCERT says it has no information on source of claim made in textbook

Only yesterday, one Shivank Verma had filed an RTI application seeking evidence for the claim made in the NCERT textbook ‘Themes of Indian History (Part II)’ for class XII which mentioned that grants were issued by the Mughal emperors for the repair of temples destroyed in war during the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.

The NCERT had, however, said that it has no evidence to prove that Mughal emperors had rebuilt temples destroyed in wars, even when it claims the same in its history textbook. As per a report in The Hindu, the meeting also discussed how the ‘Mughal-era’ is overemphasized in current books, often whitewashing their crimes, while ignoring most Hindu rulers and their contributions to the subcontinent’s heritage.

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