Political scientists Suhas Palshikar and Yogendra Yadav on Saturday reiterated their request to NCERT to drop their names as chief advisors from political science textbooks, saying they cannot be forced to introduce a textbook they no longer recognise.
In a letter to NCERT on Friday, they said a rationalisation exercise has "mutilated" the books beyond recognition and rendered them "academically dysfunctional" and asked for dropping their names from the books.
In a statement on Saturday, they stated that the textbooks which were a source of pride for them earlier have now become a source of embarrassment.
The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), however, said the withdrawal of anyone's association is out of question as textbooks at the school level are developed on the basis of knowledge and understanding on a given subject and at no stage, individual authorship is claimed.
In the statement, Palshikar and Yadav said, "We have not raised issues of authorship, copyrights and NCERT's legal authority to modify these textbooks. Our point is very simple -- If they can use their legal right to distort and mutilate the text, we must be able to exercise our moral and legal right to dissociate our name from a textbook that we do not endorse. If the name of the textbook development committee is there to acknowledge our contribution, as the NCERT claims, then we must be free to decline this generosity."
"If the names of this committee are reported as a matter of record, as claimed in this statement, then it must also be recorded that we do not approve of the present version. The continuation of our names inside the present version of the book creates a false impression of endorsement, and we have every right to dissociate with this insinuation," they said.
The statement further noted that the two are clearly the "authors" of the signed letter that introduces each book.
"How can we be forced to introduce a textbook that we no longer recognise? Surely, if the NCERT can get experts to make changes as desired, it can publish their names. The NCERT cannot hide behind our names as Chief Advisors. Please remove our names from the textbooks that were once the source of pride for us but are now a source of embarrassment," it said.
Palshikar, an academician and political scientist, and Yadav, a political scientist and Swaraj India leader, were chief advisors for the political science books for Classes 9 to 12, originally published in 2006-07 based on the 2005 version of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF).
Their names are mentioned in a "letter to students" and in the list of the textbook development team members at the beginning of each book.
The duo had on Friday stated that while the modifications have been justified in the name of rationalisation, they fail to see any pedagogic rationale behind the move and said the text has been mutilated beyond recognition while there are innumerable and irrational cuts and large deletions without any attempt to fill the gaps created.
The dropping of several topics and portions from NCERT textbooks last month triggered a controversy, with the Opposition blaming the BJP-led Centre for "whitewashing with vengeance".
At the heart of the controversy was the fact that while the changes made as part of the rationalisation exercise were notified, some of the controversial deletions were not mentioned. This led to allegations about a bid to delete these portions surreptitiously.
The NCERT had described the omissions as a possible oversight but refused to undo the deletions, saying they were based on the recommendations of experts. It had also said the textbooks were anyway headed for a revision in 2024, when the NCF kicks in. However, it later changed its stand and said "minor changes need not be notified".
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