In a move to reframe school curriculum, the Rajasthan education board has decided to not mention Jawaharlal Nehru in the new Social Science textbooks of class VIII. The chapter on the national movement makes no mention of Nehru, Sarojini Naidu and Madan Mohan Malviya. There is also no mention of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by Nathuram Godse.
The process of nation building is to a large extent dependent upon the content included in school textbooks. This has been the case worldwide and is definitely a feature of post-independent Indian education system. Since the 1960s, there has been a constant tussle among various ideological trends to determine what goes in and what needs to be left out of school curriculum.
Below are a list of instances in the recent past, when state or government authorities have raised changes to be made in school textbooks.
May 2016: Gujarat state board of school textbooks introduces a chapter on ‘economic thought’ in the Economic higher secondary textbooks which includes Deendayal Upadhyay, Chanakya and Mahatma Gandhi as the main economic thinkers. Apart from talking about economic philosophies of the thinkers, the chapter also details out their personalities. The chapter laid out that “In India, there is a great influence of several economic thinkers since the monarchical regimes. Of all these, in this chapter we will introduce main economic thinkers like Kautilya (Chanakya), Gandhiji and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.”
March 2016: The Maharashtra government announces that teaching Maharashtra’s freedom struggle would be compulsory in all CBSE, ICSE and IB schools. School education minister Vinod Tawde says “schools set up in the state need to teach the history and geography pertaining to the state.”
Sept 2015: The Haryana government decides to include in their school curriculum textbooks on moral education authored by Dinanath Batra (convenor of the RSS-backed Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti). Batra tells The Indian Express the books “will have essays, couplets, stories and poems to instill ‘Indian values’ and ‘nationalism’ in students”.
May 2014: The Gujarat education department decides to include a chapter on the life of PM Narendra Modi in the Social Science textbooks of classes 5-7. Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama says “incidents from his life, from his childhood to present day, would be included”. Apart from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana too plan on including a chapter on the PM’s life in their textbooks. However, the plan is dropped when PM Modi expresses his disapproval regarding the move.
June 2009: Saffron outfits in Pune including Samasta Hindu Aghadi,Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Dharmashakti Sena and Shree Shiv Pratishthan stage demonstrations for the inclusion of Dadoji Konddev as mentor of Chhatrapati Shivaji in History textbooks of class IV. The demand came in response to the removal of Konddev’s name as teacher of Shivaji fron history textbooks, on a proposal made by Maratha organisations in the city.
January 2009: The Social Science textbook of class X of the Chhattisgarh Board of Secondary Education incorporates the Salwa Judum movement as part of a chapter on social security from Naxalism. The chapter describes the origin and objectives of the anti-Naxal movement, the spread of Naxalism and the kind of steps taken by the government to overcome it. Salwa Judum, in the chapter, is described as a peace march movement.