New Delhi: Yet again, the NCERT has axed chapters from the history textbooks of school students — at the behest of the Prakash Javadekar-led Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry — this time from Class 10.
The Indian Express reported that three chapters have been removed from the revised Class 10 history textbook — titled ‘India and the Contemporary World–II’ — meant for the new academic session that began this month.
These three chapters are — The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China; Work Life and Leisure; and Novels, Society and History.
The first of these deals with the rise of nationalism in the Indo-China region (particularly Vietnam), how their nationalist movement was shaped by colonialism as well as the role played by women in the anti-imperialist movement in Vietnam.
The second one “looked at the history of the growth of cities like London and Bombay (now Mumbai) as well as those who are jobless or make a living by vending and hawking on the streets, living in makeshift shelters and crowded tenements. It also focuses on the environmental challenges posed by the rapid growth of cities,” to quote from the IE.
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The third chapter “traced the history of the popularity of the novel and how it influenced modern ways of thinking in the West and in India. The chapter had one section dedicated to novels that ushered in social reforms such as bringing in a new concept of womanhood.
It also discusses how novels became a medium for reflecting the experiences of the downtrodden, which had not received much attention in the literary scene earlier.”
In total, 72 pages have been deleted from the 200-page book. This is the second textbook review undertaken by the Modi government.
Ostensibly, the move is part of the “curriculum rationalisation exercise” undertaken by National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) to reduce the curriculum “burden” on students — as ordered by Javadekar.
Earlier, schools could assess students on any five of the eight chapters in the textbook, thus giving students a choice, however anonymous NCERT officials justified the removal of the three chapters saying the choice was causing “confusion”.
The three chapters that have been excised from the Class 10 history books can still be accessed online. But as former NCERT chairman Krishna Kumar, who also rubbished the “confusion” argument, told the IE, “it is a minor consolation that the chapters were being retained in the digital format, as keeping them out of the physical copy of the textbook reduces their status and importance.”
On March 18, 2019, it was reported that three chapters had been deleted from the revised history textbooks for Class 9. The three chapters dealt with caste and class inequalities.
One of these chapters was on ‘Caste conflict and dress change’, which talked about caste conflict through the struggles of the “lower caste” Nadar women of Travancore, who were forced to keep their upper bodies uncovered.
The second chapter was ‘History and Sport: The Story of Cricket’. It was about the history of cricket in India as well as its connections with the politics of caste, region and community. The third chapter, ‘Peasants and Farmers’, was about the growth of capitalism and how colonialism had altered the lives of peasants and farmers.
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In 2017, NCERT had reportedly made at least 1,334 changes, including additions, deletions, corrections and data update in 182 textbooks.
And the Modi government has been flagrantly going about re-writing the history that is taught in schools.
In the same year, NCERT had replaced the term ‘anti-Muslim riots’ to refer to the 2002 Gujarat carnage that killed several hundreds of Muslims, instead calling it simply as ‘Gujarat Riots’, in the Class XII political science textbooks, besides changing the definition of Hindutva.