Rajasthan’s Textbooks Are Now Weapons of Government Propaganda

Since BJP came to power, Rajasthan state board has made changes in its textbooks to further the state’s agenda.

4 min read
Since the BJP came to power in 2014, Rajasthan’s education board made changes in its textbooks to further the ruling party’s agenda. (Photo: iStock)

The newly revamped textbooks prescribed by Rajasthan’s education board are rife with the so-called finer points of the Narendra Modi government. Here are some questions in the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education’s (RBSE) new Class X and XII textbooks:

(Graphic: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Graphic: The Quint)

One-Sided Questions

The questions in these textbooks have been structured in such a way that the students can’t contest these government schemes. Further, these questions negate the possibility of any alternative interpretations of the text or analysis. According to a report by The Wire, the latest social science texts prescribed by the Rajasthan board include chapters on various schemes by the Modi government.

Some Topics in Rajasthan’s Social Science Texts
Demonetisation, Make in India, NITI Aayog, Swachh Bharat

Speaking to The Wire on the matter, Professor BL Choudhary said:

Seventy percent of the syllabus is kept same. Changes have been made only in the social science syllabus, as the previous textbooks focused on the world more than India and Rajasthan. We don’t want our kids to lag behind.

No References to BJP-Related Controversies

RBSE’s Textbook Committee
Formed under Section 22, Rajasthan Secondary Education Act (1957)

Rajasthan University’s Professor Rajiv Gupta told The Wire that it was after the BJP’s win in 2014 that the Vasundhara Raje-led state government started to promulgate the Hindutva ideology, by changing the school syllabus. This is reportedly the first time that the Rajasthan government has suggested an alteration of the texts.

The new textbooks, though up-to-date on the ruling government’s current policies and programs, don’t bear any references to BJP-related controversies; the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, for example, has been left out. Even the controversies surrounding the BJP, namely, the lynching of people over their choice of food, demonetisation, etc, have been glossed over.

Clearly, the textbooks only emphasise the ruling government’s positive attributes, leaving out any sort of criticism altogether – making the government’s agenda with these textbook rewrites crystal clear.

An Alternative History

A chapter on India’s Independence movement in a Class X social science book claims that it is only the urban elite and erudite, who were disconnected from the masses, that became leaders of the Congress.

Moreover, the text claims Veer Savarkar to be the “only brave revolutionary to be sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment and put in tireless efforts to stop partition,” dismissing Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who had served a long prison term. Also, an account of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination is completely missing from the text.

Demonetisation, a Drive to Erase Black Money

A class XII political science textbook’s chapter on corruption identifies demonetisation as a means to eliminate black money, in the so-called history of economics, says The Wire’s report. Only highlighting the apparent merits of this sudden scheme that was imposed on the public without warning, the texts do not so much as mention the struggles of the people during the time of its implementation. The negative impacts of demonetisation upon the economy have not been included in these books.

Only Sanskaari Food

The Class X physical and health education book tells us that non-vegetarian food is hazardous to heath. In the list of sources of proteins, fats and mineral salts, there is no mention of meat. The book also tell us when to eat, how to eat, what prayer to recite before a meal and how Western culture is responsible for destroying families and taking away sanskaar from the new generation.

Modi’s Foreign Ties and Media Coverage of Terrorism

A chapter on our country’s foreign relations discusses only Modi’s visits to three of India’s neighbours, namely Pakistan, China and Nepal, covering pacts signed with them. There seems to be a special emphasis on Modi’s dealings with Pakistan, which, among many incidents, mentions the Uri attack and India’s infamous “surgical strike”on Pakistan in retaliation.

The chapter on terrorism calls out the media for its supposed “over-reporting” of terrorist activities and says that the media representation of the violence in Kashmir and Punjab is “stereotypical”. According to the text, such reportage leads to an increase in terrorism.

Faulty Learning and Propaganda

Calling these textbooks “pedagogically faulty,” Komal Srivastava of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti told The Wire:

The government is playing with the future of children. Just because the BJP is in power and wants to propagate its Hindutva ideology, they are teaching all non-scientific things.
Already the government schools are not able to compete with the private schools and now such ‘revision’ of syllabus will bring down the performance of students even further.

(With inputs from The Wire.)

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