A high-level committee set up by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has recommended that 'India' should be called as 'Bharat' in all school textbooks, its chairman and historian Professor CI Isaac confirmed to The Quint.
The suggestion made by the seven-member 2022 Social Sciences committee, to revise the NCERT school curriculum is "unanimous" and likely to be "implemented from the next academic year, depending on NCERT," Isaac said.
NCERT officials, however, said no decision has been taken yet on the panel's recommendations, reported news agency PTI.
The recommendation has found its mention in the committee's final position paper on social sciences, a key prescriptive document that lays down the foundation for the development of new NCERT textbooks on the subject.
Apart from this, the committee has also suggested the "toning down" of the focus on “Hindu defeats” and introducing "classical history" instead of "ancient history" in the curriculum.
The proposed suggestion comes over a month and a half after the country witnessed a debate between the names after the Centre used “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India” in the invites sent out for G20 dinner hosted by President Draupadi Murmu.
'Bharat Is An Age-Old Name... Must Be Used'
“Bharat is an age-old name that dates back to 7,000 years and finds its mention in the Vishnu Purana. Even Kalidasa used the name Bharat. The name India after the invasion of Afghans, Greeks and Turks," Isaac claimed.
Isaac, a 2023 Padma Shri awardee and RSS Ideologue also claimed that the British "invaders" identified Bharat on the basis of the Sindhu river.
Article 1(1) of the Constitution of India already states "India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States."
"This is not Constitution-related, it is education-related. We are only denying the word 'India,' and go back to our age-old name," he added.
Meanwhile, NCERT said that "the development of new syllabus and textbooks is in the process and for that purpose various Curricular Area Groups of domain experts are being notified by the NCERT. So, it is too premature to comment," news agency ANI reported.
Teach 'Classical History' Instead of 'Ancient History': Panel Suggestions
The other recommendations of the committee, according to Isaac, is the introduction of ‘classical history’ instead of ‘ancient history’ in the textbooks.
The committee also called for the introduction of the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) into the curriculum of all subjects.
"Till now, our curriculum and textbooks have only emphasised on the defeat of Hindus in battles. Our failures are presently mentioned in the textbooks. But our victories over the Mughals and Sultans are not. Why is the Battle of Colachel (Kingdom of Travancore vs Dutch East India Company) missing from our textbooks? Why is the 1975 Emergency not taught in detail?"CI Isaac to The Quint
“At present, there is no mention of post independence history in NCERT textbooks. We have suggested that these historical events from 1947 till now also be introduced," he added.
Isaac, who is also a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), said that the British had divided Indian history into three phases – ancient, medieval and modern.
"This showed India in darkness, unaware of scientific knowledge and progress. They have not included India's achievements including Aryabhatta’s work on the solar system model," Isaac said.
The other members of this committee are ICHR Chairperson Raghuvendra Tanwar, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Professor Vandana Mishra, former Vice-Chancellor of the Deccan College Vasant Shinde, and sociologist Mamta Yadav, reported PTI.
The NCERT is revising the curriculum of the textbooks in line with the 2020 National Education Policy (NEP). The council had recently set up a 19-member National Syllabus and Teaching Learning Material Committee (NSTC) to finalise the curriculum, textbooks and learning material for these classes, PTI reported.
Can One Use India and Bharat Interchangeably?
Earlier in September, experts told The Quint out that the term 'Bharat' was more of a "cultural" connotation than a "religious" one.
"While one term (Bharat) was born out of literary tradition, the other (India) was born out of geographical context," Ganesh Narayandas Devy, a cultural activist and linguistic professor said.
Over the years, "India" became a more commonly used name, especially in international context, but "Bharat" continued to be used in Hindi, experts told The Quint.
On whether the terms can be used interchangeably, Supreme Court lawyer Ujjaini Chatterji said, "Through the phrase 'India, That is Bharat,' it is implied and we can interpret that one can use the terms interchangeably though it may not be something we have not done. There is no particular law that prohibits anyone from using the word 'Bharat'."