Not enough space for Vedic history, they say.
At its meeting on textbook reform on Wednesday, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education heard presentations from right-wing organizations and educators, including the man at the center of a debate on “safronization” textbooks under the Vajpayee government. They argued that Mughal history is whitewashed in Indian textbooks and crowds out space for Vedic era history.
The panel’s agenda for the meeting was to remove “references to non-historical facts and distortions regarding our national heroes”, to ensure “equal or proportionate references to all periods of Indian history” and to highlight the role of great women in Indian history.
“It has been more than two decades since textbook reforms were discussed at the platform of a parliamentary committee. We thought it was appropriate to apply our spirit given that the new national education policy is in place and that a new program is being drafted ”, declared the chairman of the committee and senior leader of BJP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe. The Hindu.
On Wednesday, the panel heard testimony from educators JS Rajput and Shankar Sharan, as well as two right-wing organizations, Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal and Shiksha Sanskriti Nyas.
From 1999 to 2004, Mr. Rajput was director of the body responsible for writing textbooks and establishing the national educational framework, the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). During his tenure, he led a controversial textbook revision process, which critics have called a communalization of Indian history.
According to sources, both Mr. Rajput and Mr. Saran argued that the space given to the Mughal era in relation to the reign of the Hindu kings should be balanced. They argued that Indian history was falsely written as if foreign rule only existed for 200 years of the British Raj, disregarding the previous 1000 years. The Mughal era had been whitewashed and their role as invaders had been diminished, they claimed.
The two right-wing organizations also spoke along the same lines, saying it was necessary for children to learn “Indian culture” from the Vedic era. The influence of Marxist historians on Indian textbooks needed to be corrected, witnesses told the committee.
“At today’s meeting, no member raised any objection as it was just testimony and there is no need for us to rectify their positions,” said one. members.
NCERT reviewing textbooks
The NCERT is currently in the process of revising the textbooks and is expected to complete the process by 2024. Some committee members suggested that it should instead be accelerated until 2022. One member recommended that the Department of Education study also how to modify higher education curricula, to ensure that they align with changes in textbooks.
The Director of NCERT, President of CBSE and Secretary of School Education were present at the meeting. Sources said it was decided they would testify at a later date. “This is only the first meeting. Many other speakers will be heard, ”said another member. Anyone who writes to the committee will be invited to comment, another member added.
On Tuesday, the committee discussed the issue of learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 disruptions. Two states that have partially reopened their schools, Assam and Uttar Pradesh, said they had so far only 30-40% attendance.