THE NATIONAL Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has introduced material on Rajput king Maharana Pratap and added more information on Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji in its Class VII history textbook ‘Our Past – II’.
The previous version of the textbook was criticised by Shiv Sena and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), which is based in Maharashtra, for “glorifying Mughal emperors” and “ignoring Hindu kings”.
The changes, The Indian Express has learnt, are part of the textbook review — the first since 2007 — undertaken last year by the NCERT, an autonomous organisation that advises the HRD Ministry on school education.
When contacted Sunday, NCERT director Hrishikesh Senapaty said he was out of town and could not comment on the changes without seeing the textbook. Senapaty said that all the revised textbooks have been dispatched to the printers and the new versions are expected to reach the market this month-end.
Last year, the Shiv Sena and the HJS had submitted separate petitions to the Maharashtra government reiterating their longstanding demand for a revision in ‘Our Past – II’. They alleged that this segment had insufficient or no information on Shivaji and Maharana Pratap, respectively, but several pages on Mughal rulers.
The HJS pointed out in its petition that the textbook does not carry a photograph of Shivaji, even as “photos of atrocious, tyrannical Muslim kings, Babar and his descendants. are printed”.
According to its official website, HJS was established in 2002 to “reinstate Dharma” and “establish the Hindu Nation”. It has collaborated with Sanatan Sanstha, another Hindu outfit, to produce 367 volumes of dharmasatsangs to educate Hindus on Dharma, the website states.
The Indian Express has learnt that the revisions include:
* In addition to the existing text in chapters 3 and 10 on Shivaji, Chapter 10 (under the section on Maratha rulers) will carry another 100 words on the Maratha ruler, his guerilla warfare tactics and how he embarked on a career of conquest at a young age, and, subsequently, laid the foundation of a strong empire. A portrait of Shivaji has also been introduced in this chapter.
* The section on Marathas in the same chapter, which talks about the role of Pehwas in building the Maratha empire, will mention Peshwa Baji Rao I as a great general and credit him with expanding the kingdom beyond the Vindhyas.
* Maharana Pratap has also been introduced in the last chapter, in the section titled ‘The Watan Jagirs of the Rajputs’. This section is on the influential Rajput kings, especially those from Amber and Jodhpur, who served under the Mughals and in exchange “were permitted to enjoy considerable autonomy in their watan jagirs”. Here, Maharana Pratap of Mewar has been introduced as an exception, who did not give in to Mughal authority.
The introduction of Maharana Pratap is significant against the backdrop of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying on many occasions that the Rajput warrior has not got his due in history and urging historians to re-evaluate the Maharana’s contribution.
The first edition of ‘Our Past-II’ was printed in 2007. The textbook was drafted by the NCERT textbook development committee on social science of which Hari Vasudevan, UGC Emeritus Professor at the department of history in Calcutta University, was the chairperson and retired JNU professor Neeladri Bhattacharya was the chief advisor.
This is the first comprehensive review of NCERT textbooks after the National Curriculum Framework was drafted in 2005. A curriculum revision is also overdue but will only happen once the new education policy is unveiled by the Union government.
As first reported by The Indian Express on August 31, 2017, the Council has included Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Digital India campaigns as well as demonetisation — all associated with the BJP-led NDA government — in the textbooks, across different subjects, for the next academic session.
For instance, the Goods and Services Tax or GST has been introduced in Chapter 3 of the Class XI Economics textbook, which now reads, “Recently the Indian Parliament passed a law, Goods and Services Tax Act 2016 to simplify and introduce a unified indirect tax system in India. This law has come into effect in July 2017. This is expected to generate additional revenue for the government and reduce tax evasion and create ‘one nation, one tax and one market’.”
Demonetisation is also mentioned in the same chapter of the class XI Economics textbook.
The NCERT is also learnt to have agreed to drop the Sanskrit play ‘Bhagvadajjukam’ from its Class VIII Sanskrit textbook ‘Ruchira’, as a section of teachers complained they were uncomfortable explaining to the students the role of a prostitute mentioned in the text. ‘Bhagvadajjukam’, believed to have been written by Bodhayana, tells the story of a priest and his student who thinks only of worldly pleasures.
The Council has made roughly 1,334 changes, which include additions, corrections and data updates, in its 182 textbooks. Of these, the maximum changes (573) have been made to science books, followed by social science (316) and Sanskrit textbooks (163).