NCERT Faces Flak for Controversial Changes in Class XI, XII Textbooks

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Congress has slammed the NCERT calling it an “RSS affiliate” and termed the controversial changes as a “mounting assault on the constitution”.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has come under fire for deleting references to the demolition of the Babri Masjid and introducing “criticism of secularism” in the Class XI and XII political science textbooks.

The revised Class XII textbook cut down the Ayodhya section from four to two pages and deleted multiple references to the mosque’s demolition.

Some of the significant details of the Babri Masjid demolition episode that were deleted include the LK Advani-led BJP’s Rath Yatra to mobilise supporters for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, Kar Sevaks’ crucial role in bringing down the Babri Masjid, communal riots in the aftermath of the mosque demolition on December 6, 1992, President’s rule in BJP-ruled states, and BJP’s “regret over the happenings in Ayodhya”. 

In the Class XI textbook, the NCERT introduces ‘criticism of secularism’ which says political parties in India “give priority to the interests of a minority group” with an eye on “vote bank politics”, which leads to “minority appeasement”.

Congress slammed the NCERT calling it an “RSS affiliate” and termed the controversial changes as a “mounting assault on the constitution”.

“It is true that the NCERT is no longer a professional institution. It has been functioning as an RSS affiliate since 2014. It has just been revealed that its revised Class XI political science textbook criticises the idea of secularism as well as what it considers policies of political parties in this regard. NCERT’s objective is to produce textbooks, not political pamphlets and propaganda,” said Jairam Ramesh, general secretary of Congress’s communication wing.

He asserted that NCERT is mounting an assault on our country’s Constitution whose Preamble secularism features explicitly as a foundational pillar of the Indian republic. “Various Supreme Court judgments have clearly held secularism to be an essential part of the basic structure of the Constitution,” said the Rajya Sabha MP.

Ramesh described the NCERT as the Nagpur or Narendra Council for Educational Research and Training. “All of its textbooks are now of dubious quality vastly different from those that shaped me in school,” he said.

In its defence of removing the references related to the mosque demolition and Gujarat riots, the NCERT Director Dinesh Prasad Saklani claimed that teaching about the mosque demolition and riots would not have a positive impact on the citizens and create “violent and depressed” individuals.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale criticised the justification pointing out that in that case, students should not be taught about the World Wars also.

“Shameless NDA 1.0 Govt now hides inconvenient facts in NCERT textbooks from students. By this logic, why to teach kids about other “violent depressing things” like the World War? Are BJP & Modi ashamed of their history as criminals & rioters? Why hide the truth from students?” posted Gokhale on X.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate also echoed Gokhale’s views and termed NCERT’s justification a “stupid argument”.

“NCERT chief is giving a stupid argument for removing Gujarat riots from the syllabus. According to this, even wars, movements, and great conflicts should not be taught – because people will become violent. What children learn depends on whether you glorify or condemn violence,” said Shrinate.

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