Nearly 13 years after the National Curriculum Framework was drafted in 2005, NCERT (National Council for Educational Research and Training) has revised the Class 12 Political Science textbook. In its revision, the NCERT has removed words/phrases like ‘anti-Muslim’ and ‘against Muslims’, from passages referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The NCERT decided to incorporate certain changes in the Class 12 Political Science textbook, ‘Politics in India Since Independence’. According to the Indian Express, the last chapter of the book, ‘Recent Developments in Indian Politics’ had a passage dedicated to the Gujarat riots, whose title read ‘Anti-Muslim Riots in Gujarat’. The new title reads ‘Gujarat Riots’. Not only this, the Council has also removed ‘against Muslims’ from the opening line of the paragraph describing the riots, which earlier read: “In February-March 2002, large-scale violence against Muslims took place in Gujarat”.
The move can be termed as controversial since the same paragraph carries information about the 1984 riots, which are mentioned as anti-Sikh. As per the Hindustan Times, the description about the 1984 riots, which took place in Delhi after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, reads: “As in the case of anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Gujarat riots show that the governmental machinery also becomes susceptible to sectarian passions”.
The above changes were suggested by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in June 2017.
The Council also updated the Class 7 History textbook, ‘Our Past-II’, after Maharashtra-based Shiv Sena and Goa-based Hindu Janajagruti Samiti criticised it neglecting the Hindu rulers and glorifying Mughal emperors. As a result, the NCERT included additional information about Maratha ruler Chhatrpati Shivaji and introduced bits on Rajput king, Maharana Pratap. Now, different textbooks also contain information about central government initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India, Demonetisation as well as Goods & Services Tax (GST).
While every government (in power) tweaks the education system to fit with its party’s ideology into it, there have been far too many instances in the case of the BJP, which now rules 21 out of 29 states of India. In January this year, the Uttar Pradesh government directed all the universities to have a chair in the name of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay (who was the leader of the Jan Sangh, the political arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). Last year, BJP-led states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra also made changes in their textbooks by including Veer Savarkar, and omitting chapters on Mughal and Muslim rulers from Class 7 and 9 textbooks to focus on the Maratha king, Maharana Pratap.