'Embarrassed With Textbooks': Suhas Palshikar, Yogendra Yadav Ask NCERT to Drop Their Names

In the light of recent controversial changes made to political science textbooks, the political scientists wrote to NCERT asking it to drop their names as chief advisors. 

New Delhi: Political scientists Suhas Palshikar and Yogendra Yadav asked to have their names removed from the National Council for Education Research and Training’s (NCERT) political science textbooks in an open letter on Friday, June 9.

They were chief advisors for the NCERT’s political science textbooks and released their letter in light of disagreements with controversial changes that the education council recently made to many of its textbooks.

“We were never consulted or even informed of these changes … The frequent and serial deletions do not seem to have any logic except to please the powers that be,” Palshikar and Yadav said in their letter to the NCERT director.

“While the modifications have been justified on the grounds of ‘rationalisation’, we fail to see any pedagogic rationale at work here. We find that the text has been mutilated beyond recognition,” the letter also reads.

Among the changes the NCERT made to its political science textbooks earlier this year are removing references to the 2002 Gujarat riots from its Class 12 book, chapters titled ‘Democracy and Diversity’, ‘Popular Struggles and Movements’ and ‘Challenges of Democracy’ from its Class 10 book and a section on sedition from its Class 8 book.

The NCERT also removed chapters relating to Mughal history from a Class 12 history textbook, and last year it deleted a chapter on Darwin’s theory of evolution from its Class 10 biology textbook.

Also Read: If NCERT Has its Way, the Study of Indian History Will Move Entirely Outside of India

It justified its decisions as part of a ‘rationalisation’ exercise designed to “reduce the content load” on students following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Palshikar and Yadav were chief advisors for the NCERT’s political science textbooks that were published in 2006 and asked that their names in this capacity be removed from the revised books.

“We feel embarrassed that our names should be mentioned as chief advisors to these mutilated and academically dysfunctional textbooks,” they said.

The Council responded to their letter on Friday night, saying that theirs was part of a joint advisory effort and as a result no individual members could disassociate themselves from the textbooks.

“Textbooks at the school level are ‘developed’ based on the state of our knowledge and understanding on a given subject. Therefore, at no stage individual authorship is claimed, hence the withdrawal of association by any one is out of question,” it said in a statement.

It added that the advisors’ contributions were being acknowledged “for the sake of record” even though the books are copyrighted by the council and the advisors’ term expired as soon as the books were published.

We originally published this article at 7:55 PM on June 9 and updated it at 11:25 AM on June 10.