In a fresh set of demands following the Ambedkar cartoon controversy, VCK chief and MP Thirumavalavan on Friday said the SK Thorat panel should go beyond just reviewing cartoons and must revisit contents in all NCERT text books.
In an interview to Express, he also urged that henceforth, all committees appointed to frame syllabus for school and college curriculum have a Dalit as member to avoid such “insensitive material” getting into textbooks.
Thirumavalavan said contents in the political science chapters, that has come under severe criticism from Dalit parties, “seem to be ideas of a select few”, who framed the curriculum.
“What the members felt right had been included in the book. I do not think there was much consultation,” said the VCK chief, who met HRD Minister Kapil Sibal recently and submitted a list of demands. Rejecting the view that the whole controversy was raked up for political mileage, given the fact that the cartoon had not caused any heartburn when it was released in 1949, he said the image of Ambedkar itself has changed in the last 60 years.
“In those days he (Ambedkar) was seen as an intellectual and a great legal luminary. But his later efforts made him the redeemer of all downtrodden communities,” he said, adding that the problem was not in the cartoon but on where it was put up. “Print it in magazines and newspapers. That is your right. But you cannot have it in textbooks,” he said.
Thirumavalavan clarified that while the textbook has been in circulation since 2006, it was only in April this year that it was brought to his notice. A careful reading “exposed” the “bias” in portrayal of several issues, including what happened in the Constitution’s drafting committee. “Historical facts have been hidden. Nowhere in that chapter it has been mentioned that Ambedkar was the chairman of the committee. When you carry a cartoon ridiculing him for the delay in the drafting process, why did they not mention a single word about the exhaustive explanation given for the delay by Ambedkar himself?” questioned the VCK leader.