NCERT Drops Mughal Empire, Gujarat Riots From Class 12 History Books

Chapters under the sub-head 'Themes of Indian History: Part 2,' of the Class 12 history textbook, which are related to 'Kings and Chronicles; the Mughal Courts (C. 16th and 17th centuries)' have been removed.

New Delhi: The revised National Council of Educational Research and Training history book for Class 12 has dropped chapters on the Mughal empire, the 2002 Gujarat riots and popular movements. NCERT books are followed across the country in thousands of schools.

Times of India has reported that the chapters under the sub-head ‘Themes of Indian History: Part 2,’ of the Class 12 history textbook, which are related to ‘Kings and Chronicles; the Mughal Courts (C. 16th and 17th centuries)’ have been removed.

Chapters titled ‘Central Islamic Lands,’ ‘Clash of Cultures,’ and ‘Industrial Revolution’ have been removed from the Class 11 book Themes in World History.

The news agency PTI has reported that in the class 12 political science textbook, pages on the topic ‘Gujarat Riots’ have been excluded from the chapter titled ‘Recent Developments in Indian Politics’.

The mention of the National Human Rights Commission report on the 2002 violence and the “raj dharma” remark by then Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee has been dropped from the textbook.

“A poem on the Dalit movement and a chapter on the Cold War are among the exclusions from the political science textbook,” the news agency said.

Two chapters from the Class 12 textbook Indian Politics after Independence which were removed are titled ‘Rise of Popular Movements’ and ‘Era of One Party Dominance.’

NCERT is also set to remove poems and paragraphs related to Mughals from its Hindi textbooks, it has reported.

These changes will be reflected in the books of the upcoming academic session of 2023-24.

In the Class 10 Democratic Politics 2 textbook, the chapters titled ‘Democracy and Diversity,’ ‘Popular Struggles and Movements,’ and ‘Challenges of Democracy’ have been dropped.

“We teach our students using NCERT books…whatever is there in the revised edition will be followed,” Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak said told PTI.

A number of scholars on the Mughal empire have reacted strongly to the move. Simon Schama, a British historian, tweeted, “This is another preposterous war on history – the Mughals were a magnificent civilisation producing transcendent art, music, architecture”.

Katherine Schofield, who is a historian of music and listening in Mughal India, tweeted, “This RIDICULOUS. The Mughals ruled over much of India for over 200 years (technically over 300) and left behind an enduring legacy.

Love them, loathe them, or really not care — leaving the Mughals out of school history textbooks won’t magic them away.”

Author and historian Audrey Truschke said that the move marks another “chapter in the embrace of ignorance over knowledge that is increasingly common in Indian society under Hindu nationalist rule”. She tweeted, “Indian history remains untouched by such censorship. Modern ignorance thereof is another matter.”

Note: Reactions of historians were added to this piece after it was published.