Centre to alter history from '02

New Delhi, Aug. 4: In what academics fear to be a move to communalise education, the BJP-led NDA government has decided to pull out the existing NCERT history textbooks prescribed for the school curricula over the next two academic years, that is from 2002-2004.

The process of bringing out the new textbooks, being kept completely under wraps, is almost complete, sources say. The "rewritten" textbooks will be included in the history syllabus from the new academic year, starting March-April, 2002.

An eminent historian, on request of anonymity, said that he feared that the BJP and RSS would make sure that the Hindutva agenda is pushed further. One would have to wait for March, 2002 to get to know what is in store for the class XI and XII history students.

He added that the government cites the reason that history needs to be presented in a more refreshing and cogent manner and that books, which have been read for years on end, can always be changed.

There are several instances of distortions in history textbooks by the present government, said Arjun Dev, who has retired from the post of Head of the Social Sciences and Humanities Department, NCERT.

Whether it be the glorification of RSS leaders like Veer Sawarkar or Chhatrapati Shivaji, the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur or the history of Jainism, there are several instances of twisting historical facts. A glaring example of this are the changes made in R S Sharma's book "Ancient India". Some of the portions on Jainism were deleted from this book without the author's permission, in violation of copyright.

Now this book stands dropped from the class XI syllabus. The books that have already been pulled out from the school curriculum are Arjun Dev's book for class IX, "Story of Civilisation", Romila Thapar's book for class VI, and Satish Chandra's book for class XI, "Medieval India." In the session starting in 2003, four more books for classes VII, X and XII, by eminent historians are going to be dropped.

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Referred by: Benjamin P.
Published on:August 5, 2001
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