THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Taking strong exception to the NCERT committee’s recommendation to replace ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in school textbooks, the Kerala government on Thursday made it clear that the suggestion will not be implemented in the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan termed the panel’s recommendation a continuation of the unilateral move that had dropped Mughal history, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and the RSS ban from textbooks. “It appears to be another step by the Sangh parivar to impose divisive communalism on educational institutions and curriculum,” Pinarayi said.
“The Sangh parivar is scared of the inclusive politics behind the term India, and that’s what channelises its hate towards ‘India’,” he said.
“The NCERT panel for social sciences has recommended that India be replaced with Bharat in textbooks. The Constitution of the country says ‘India, that is Bharat’. The politics behind dropping the term ‘India’ is as evident as daylight,” he said.
Pinarayi, in a statement, said NCERT has been continuously favouring the Sangh parivar’s efforts to distort history. The curriculum panel has been eager to gloss over history, by popularising a fake parivar-guided narrative, the chief minister said. “The recommendation by the panel is the latest example of it,” he said.
Sivankutty says state will resist efforts to distort history
Pinarayi urged all citizens “to unite and safeguard the essence of ‘India’, a nation founded on the principles of unity in diversity.” Earlier, General Education Minister V Sivankutty lashed out against the panel recommendations, terming them part of parochial politics.
Coming down heavily on the Centre for not consulting the states before proposing such drastic changes, Sivankutty said that Kerala won’t accept the NCERT panel recommendations. “The Centre’s attempt to change historical facts to distort the past is a matter of great concern. We vehemently oppose these proposed changes, which we believe are incompatible with our democratic values,” said Sivankutty.
The minister said, in response to the Centre’s previous attempts at similar changes, Kerala had published additional textbooks to cover topics removed from the NCERT syllabus. “Education being a topic in the concurrent list, the states have the authority to take a final say on these matters,” he said.
“Of the 124 textbooks for classes 11 and 12 in the state, 44 are NCERT books. The remaining are from SCERT. If NCERT textbooks try to distort history through their contents, the state will resist it,” the minister said. The state will explore options to prepare these 44 textbooks in the state itself. The curriculum committee will also examine the contents of the 44 textbooks in use, he added.
A slew of other political leaders, including state Congress president K Sudhakaran, also came out against the NCERT panel recommendations.