The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) dropped a few paragraphs related to the 2002 Gujarat riots from the class XII Political Science text, in an attempt to 'rationlalise textbooks' due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is being said that irrelevant parts are being removed from the books but this is not the first time that NCERT has introduced such culling. There have been many such examples in recent times.
What Has Been Removed?
April 2022: Two poems by Faiz Ahmad Faiz
Earlier this year in April, NCERT removed two Urdu poems of Faiz Ahmad Faiz from a book named Democratic Policies II that was a part of the Class X Political Science curriculum. The poems were part of the chapter named Religion, Communalism and Politics – Communalism Secular State.
The poems were titled, Aaj Bazar Mein Pa-Ba-Jaulan Chalo, and Dhaka Se Wapsi Par. The cartoon on these pages carried a satire on the political parties vying to capture state power through the process of promoting communalism.
Though the chapter has been retained in the book, pages 46, 48, and 49 have been dropped which contained the aforementioned poems by Faiz along with a few posters.
Besides these poems, a chapter titled Central Islamic Lands in the Class X History book was also dropped. It was pertaining to the rise of the Islamic rule in Afro-Asian countries and its effect on the economy and society thereof.
These chapters also focused on where Islam was founded, who the Prophet was and what the Sufi tradition is.
Similarly, a chapter named Cold War Era and Non-Aligned Movement had been dropped from the Class XII Political Science curriculum.
The chapter contained content about India's diplomacy during the Cold War and her close relationship with Russia. It also gave a glimpse of how the non-aligned movement started and Nehru’s diplomatic efforts in the aftermath of India's independence.
April 2019: Three chapters removed from India and the Contemporary World-II
Parts of the syllabus were dropped in the pretext of "reducing burden on the students". NCERT removed three chapters from the history book of Class X: India and the Contemporary World-II.
One chapter was on the rise of nationalism in the Indo-China region particularly in Vietnam. It also highlighted the role of women in fighting against colonialism.
The second chapter explored an understanding of history through fictional works and novels. It explained how literature has impacted the thinking process of the West and of India.
The third chapter, which was on urban development, shed light on the history of cities like London and Mumbai. It also included the climate challenges faced by cities owing to unbridled development activities.
March 2019: Three chapters removed from India and the Contemporary World-I
In March 2019, NCERT brought in changes in the Class IX History book when it removed three chapters from the curriculum.
A chapter on Clothing: A Social History explained how various social movements and agitations played a part in the evolution of attires in England and India. It also included parts on caste struggle and changes in attire thereof.
Those students missing out on the chapter will never know, at least in the classroom, about the Nadar women, who struggled for every bit of their clothing because of their low social status. The Nadar men and women were not allowed to hold umbrellas over their heads and were also banned from wearing gold-silver ornaments and any garment above the waist.
They won their rights and freedom from these social evils after a prolonged and violent struggle that spanned over decades.
Another chapter removed from the book was named, History and Sport: The Story of Cricket. It explored the connection of caste, religion, and politics with the history of cricket in India.
The third chapter was on farmers which focused on the theme of the advent of capitalism and how it changed the life of farmers and farm labourers.
March 2018: The title Anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat was changed to Gujarat Riots
While now the portion related to Gujarat riots has been dropped altogether from the Class XII syllabus, earlier in 2018, the title was changed from Anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat to Gujarat Riots by the NCERT.
In another book about politics in the contemporary world, Aksai-Chin was shown as a disputed area in a red colour denoting China. NCERT had come out with an excuse that it was not a map of India but South East Asia published by Texas University. After a hue and cry in the media, the map was replaced after a few months.
July 2018: Chapters on Modi Govt Policies Added
Cutting down is not the only thing NCERT has done in recent times but they have included new chapters also. In 2018, both the Union government and the state of Madhya Pradesh decided to add a chapter on the Emergency of 1975-77 in India in the curriculum. Students of both Classes X and XI are reading about the 'truth of emergency' since the 2019 session.
April 2018: Chapter on Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, and Swachh Bharat were added
In 2018, NCERT had made 1,334 minor-major changes in its 182 books, meaning every book had an average of seven changes or revisions. Chapters on GST, demonetisation, Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, and the Swachh Bharat campaign were added.
Actor Akshay Kumar, who played Prithiviraj Chauhan in his recent flick that bombed at the box office, has already suggested teaching less about Mughals in the History books.