NCERT books tweaks: References to controversial topics dropped

NEW DELHI, 5 Apr: Dropping references to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the killing of Muslims in the Gujarat riots and Hindutva, and tweaking the reference to Manipur’s merger with India are among the latest set of revisions made public by the National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) in its textbooks.
While the NCERT did not comment on the topics being dropped, officials said that the tweaks are part of routine updation and are not linked to the development of new books as per the new curriculum framework. The changes have been made in political science textbooks of Classes 11 and 12, besides others.
According to a document detailing the changes prepared by the curriculum drafting committee of the NCERT, the references to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement have been tweaked “as per latest development in politics.”
Chapter 8 on secularism in Class 11 textbook earlier said, “More than 1,000 persons, mostly Muslims, were massacred during the post Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002.”
It has been changed to “more than 1,000 persons were killed during the post Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002.”
The NCERT’s rationale behind the change is “in any riots, people across communities suffer. It cannot be just one community.”
On Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the earlier textbook stated: “India claims that this area is under illegal occupation. Pakistan describes this area as Azad Pakistan.” The changed version says, “However, it is the Indian territory which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan and called Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK).”
The NCERT’s rationale behind the alteration is that the “change that has been introduced is in complete concurrence with the latest position of the government of India in regard to Jammu and Kashmir.”
On Manipur, the earlier textbook stated, “The government of India succeeded in pressuring the maharaja into signing a merger agreement in September 1949, without consulting the popularly elected legislative assembly of Manipur. This caused a lot of anger and resentment in Manipur, the repercussions of which are still being felt.”
The changed version says, “The government of India succeeded in persuading the maharaja into signing a merger agreement in September 1949.”
In Chapter 8, ‘Recent Developments in Indian Politics’, references to the “Ayodhya demolition” has been dropped.
“What is the legacy of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the Ayodhya demolition for the nature of political mobilisation?” has been changed to “What is the legacy of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement?”
In the same chapter, references to the Babri Masjid and the politics of Hindutva have been dropped.
The earlier paragraph read: “Fourth, a number of events culminated in the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya (known as Babri Masjid) in December 1992. This event symbolised and triggered various changes in the politics of the country and intensified debates about the nature of Indian nationalism and secularism. These developments are associated with the rise of the BJP and the politics of ‘Hindutva’.”
This has been changed to: “Fourth, the centuries-old legal and political dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya started influencing the politics of India, which gave birth to various political changes. The Ram Janmabhoomi temple movement, becoming the central issue, transformed the direction of the discourse on secularism and democracy. These changes culminated in the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, following the decision of the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court (which was announced on 9 November, 2019).”
In Chapter 5, titled ‘Democratic Rights’, a reference to the Gujarat riots was dropped in the caption to a news collage.
The earlier version was: “Do you notice references to the National Human Rights Commission in the news collage on this page? These references reflect the growing awareness of human rights and struggles for human dignity. Many cases of human rights violations in diverse fields, for instance, Gujarat riots, are being brought to the public notice from across India.”
This has been changed to “Many cases of human rights violations in diverse fields are being brought to the public notice from across India.”
The NCERT had last week communicated to the CBSE schools that new textbooks have been developed for Classes 3 and 6, while the textbooks for other classes as per the NCF remain unchanged.
However, the series of changes will now be introduced in the books which are yet to hit the market, even as the new session has already begun. (PTI)