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‘Need for commission to evaluate textbooks to check saffronisation’

Drawing attention to the increasing “saffronisation” of textbooks in Karnataka

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: September 7, 2013 2:56:06 am

Drawing attention to the increasing “saffronisation” of textbooks in Karnataka and other states,a group of academics and intellectuals have demanded that a National Commission be set up to evaluate and vet textbooks in Social Sciences and Humanities to check the dangerous trend.

Such a commission,with expert members on each discipline,could provide a “useful institutional filter given the growing trend towards competitive,identity-based,vote-bank politics that derides and erodes the very idea of India”,said a statement issued by 24 signatories. Historians Romila Thapar,Mushirul Hasan,former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi,JNU’s Dr Zoya Hasan,Director CSDS Rajeev Bhargava,senior journalist B G Verghese,playwright and actor Girish Karnad and former Cabinet Secretary Naresh Chandra are among the signatories to the statement calling for “purging school textbooks of bias”.

“Various distortions of fact,interpretation and emphasis have crept into certain history and social science textbooks in Karnataka and other states that contain elements of “saffronisation” and valorisation of specific regional heroes,ethnic identities and faith-based communities in a manner that do not do justice to or even denigrate others. This has happened in Maharashtra,Punjab and elsewhere (as cited by the CABE Committee of 2005 on non-governmental text books taught in private schools,chaired by Prof Zoya Hasan),and others.

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