Academician Suhas Palshikar and political scientist Yogendra Yadav on Thursday urged the National Council for Educational Research and Training to drop their names as chief advisors of political science textbooks, saying that the texts have been “mutilated beyond recognition”.
Palshikar and Yadav, who is the founder of the Swaraj Abhiyan political party, have been listed as chief advisors for the NCERT’s political science textbooks from Classes 9 to 12.
In a move that the NCERT claimed would “rationalise” textbooks and reduce the workload on students affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it has either deleted or watered down important details of India’s history.
Among the texts dropped by the NCERT were paragraphs on attempts by Hindu extremists to assassinate Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and the ban imposed on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh after his killing.
Last year, the NCERT also dropped content related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Mughal rule in India and the nationwide Emergency imposed in 1975. No NCERT textbook now has any reference to the Gujarat riots.
On Thursday, Palshikar and Yadav in a letter to NCERT Director Dinesh Saklani wrote that they were not consulted or informed about the changes. “The frequent and serial deletions do not seem to have any logic accept to please the powers that be,” they said.
Palshikar and Yadav said that they could not see any pedagogic rationale behind the deletions by the NCERT.
“Textbooks cannot and should not be shaped in this blatantly partisan manner and should not quell the spirit of critique and questioning among students of social sciences,” the letter added. “These textbooks as they stand now do not serve the purpose of training students of political science both the principles of politics and the broad patterns of political dynamics that have occurred over time.”
The academician and the political scientist said that they are “embarrassed” that their names are mentioned as chief advisors to the “mutilated and academically dysfunctional textbooks”.
Opposition leaders have also objected to the changes, saying it was an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party to rewrite history and “whitewash” the past.