New Delhi: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is set to drop three chapters from its Class IX history textbook as a part of the second textbook review undertaken by the current government.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the revised edition, which will not include almost 70 pages from the textbook titled India and the Contemporary World – I, will come into effect before the new academic session commences.
One of the three chapters eliminated from the history textbook includes “Clothing: A Social History” which detailed the influence of social movements on clothing and a section on ‘Caste Conflict and Dress Change’. Several objections were raised with reference to the “Upper Cloth Revolt” in south India, during which ‘lower’ caste Nadar women were attacked by Nairs in Travancore for defying the dictum of not covering their upper bodies before the dominant castes. The chapter states that “over subsequent decades, a violent conflict over dress codes ensued”.
Previously, the Central Board of Secondary Education had issued a circular informing affiliated schools that the section on ‘Caste Conflict and Dress Change’ would be “omitted from the curriculum” and students would not be questioned on its contents.
Another chapter scheduled to be dropped from the textbook traces the history and Victorian origins of the sport of cricket. along with its connection to the politics of caste, region and community and the subsequent adoption of the sport by the British colonies.
Another chapter detailing the impact of colonialism and capitalism on rural communities and peasants titled ‘Peasants and Farmers’ will also be dropped from the revised edition.
While the decision to eliminate parts of the syllabus is a part of the curriculum rationalisation exercise initiated by the human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar apparently to reduce the burden on students, the content removed from the social science textbooks is considerably more than that deleted from the mathematics and science textbooks.
This is not the first time the regime in power has re-written history to suit a certain narrative. The Narendra Modi government has repeatedly been accused of ‘saffronising’ education – particularly by editing history textbooks.
In recent years, the NCERT was under pressure to replace a reference to the ‘Anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat’ in the political science textbook for Class XII to simply the ‘Gujarat Riots’ in addition to changing the interpretation of Hindutva. A passage in the book which carried Vajpayee’s famous ‘raj dharma’ quote was also reportedly considered to be unnecessary.