MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

New tales: Editorial on NCERT director defending deletion of Gujarat, Ayodhya dispute in textbooks

Mr Saklani claimed that knowing about riots would create “offensive” citizens, spread hatred and produce feelings of victimhood. Hatred and violence are not subjects of teaching, he said; so are these only for practice?

The Editorial Board Published 19.06.24, 06:49 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

Education has a single function: creating positive citizens. So argued the director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training, Dinesh Prasad Saklani, when faced with the outrage at the new deletions in NCERT textbooks of various classes. These include the erasure of the Gujarat riots and the removal of two pages out of four about the events in Ayodhya. The focus in the latter is the Supreme Court’s verdict that led to the raising of the temple and an account of the welcome it is supposed to have received. Mr Saklani feels that accounts of riots and the events in Ayodhya would create depressed and violent citizens. In an extended defence against the charge of saffronisation of the curriculum — they say only ladies protest too much — Mr Saklani said there was nothing wrong in emphasising the court verdict as it was a fact. History is based on facts, it is not a battleground. Then it must be asked if the existence of Babri Masjid was a fact. Why is it a nameless “three-domed structure” in the texts?
Mr Saklani claimed that knowing about riots would create “offensive” citizens, spread hatred and produce feelings of victimhood. Hatred and violence are not subjects of teaching, he said; so are these only for practice?

The deletions are part of the “rationalisation” in line with the National Education Policy that requires a lighter syllabus. That includes dropping the contributions of the Mughal emperors — gradually since 2014 — as well as deleting Mahatma Gandhi’s calming influence on sectarian riots, the reasons for his murder and all details about his killer except his name. Also this time, as over the years, people’s movements and uprisings from underprivileged castes are seen to be vanishing, together with anything that endangers the Narendra Modi-led government’s chosen narrative. Mr Saklani insisted that these are experts’ decisions with no pressure from above. Strange, then, that the authors of textbooks published in 2006 should now threaten legal action unless their names are removed. They object to the deletions and the addition of a paragraph on “minority appeasement”. Their expertise does not support the Bharatiya Janata Party’s highly edited view of history with the magical disappearance of all things uncomfortable for the party. That diet is the recipe for producing “positive citizens”. Knowledge has nothing to do with it.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT