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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

Kerala education board restores content on Gandhi murder, Mughals after NCERT deletion

'We all know which organisations were involved in Gandhi’s murder and what was the ideology that guided them. Deleting such portions from textbooks is not to reduce the weight of the textbooks, but is in keeping with a specific political interest,' Vijayan said

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 25.08.23, 06:18 AM
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan File picture

The Kerala education department has restored chapters deleted by the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) by bringing out additional books on several subjects for higher secondary students in schools that follow the state curriculum, bringing back passages on incidents like the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday released the books published by the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) — for Classes XI and XII — by including portions omitted by the NCERT. Students of Classes XI and XII of Kerala schools have been using 44 NCERT textbooks covering 12 subjects, while Classes I to X already use SCERT textbooks.

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The chief minister said the NCERT had attributed the deletion to its efforts to reduce the weight of textbooks apart from rationalisation of study material. In the process, the NCERT dropped chapters such as the one on the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and others on Jawaharlal Nehru, Mughal kings and the Cold War, among others.

The additional textbooks were prepared by including the lessons omitted by the NCERT in the higher-secondary textbooks for history, political science, economics and sociology, Vijayan said.

“So, naturally, students of those classes (XI and XII) get NCERT textbooks. They (the books revised by the NCERT) will radically change the students’ social outlook. What is the danger? It will endanger our society that is rooted in secularism and brotherhood,” the chief minister said.

The additional textbooks will be taken up in classes beginning early September when schools reopen after the upcoming Onam festival break.

One of the portions dropped by the NCERT was about the ideological background of Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, in the Class XII history textbook.

“We all know which organisations were involved in Gandhi’s murder and what was the ideology that guided them. Deleting such portions from textbooks is not to reduce the weight of the textbooks, but is in keeping with a specific political interest,” Vijayan said.

“With such attempts they are trying to whitewash individuals and their organisations involved in Gandhi’s murder. There is no doubt that those who whitewash such incidents would one day declare Godse as a great man,” the chief minister cautioned.

He said another example was the removal of chapters on Mughal kings “to create an impression that this country belongs to only one particular set of people”.

“They are trying to create an opinion among students that all other sections are to be thrown out of this country…. Burying social reality is very important for forming a theocratic state,” Vijayan said.

“They first removed some chapters from textbooks during Covid. Then they removed portions that provide knowledge that would help reign in hatred and divisiveness. We should understand that the attempt is to create a society based on hatred,” the CPM veteran said.

“We have recently seen communal riots in some parts of India. Those incidents further emphasise the importance of including human values and the values of the Constitution,” he said, referring to the violence in Manipur and Haryana.

The Congress government in neighbouring Karnataka is expected to “de-saffronise” textbooks revised by the previous BJP dispensation.

The Congress had in its election manifesto promised to correct the textbooks by restoring several chapters that were dropped and by deleting contentious material hailing certain Hindutva ideologues.

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