References to freedom fighter and India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad have been removed from the new class 11 political science textbook by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
As part of its “syllabus rationalisation” exercise last year, the NCERT, citing “overlapping” and “irrelevant” as reasons, dropped certain portions from the course including lessons on Gujarat riots, Mughal courts, Emergency, Cold War, Naxalite movement, among others from its textbooks.
The rationalisation note had no mention of any changes in class 11 political science textbook.
The NCERT has, however, claimed that no curriculum trimming has taken place this year and the syllabus was rationalised in June, last year.
“Certain changes not finding mention in the rationalised content book could be an ‘oversight’,” NCERT director Dinesh Saklani reiterated.
In the class 11 political science textbook’s first chapter, titled ‘Constitution – Why and How’, a line has been revised to omit Azad’s name from the constituent assembly committee meetings.
The revised line now reads, “Usually, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel or BR Ambedkar chaired these Committees.”
In the tenth chapter of the same textbook, titled “The Philosophy of the Constitution”, the reference to Jammu and Kashmir’s conditional accession has also been deleted.
“For example, the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian union was based on a commitment to safeguard its autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution,” says the dropped paragraph.
Last year, the Ministry of Minority Affairs had discontinued the Maulana Azad Fellowship, which was launched in 2009, and provided financial assistance for five years to students from six notified minorities.
“Gandhiji’s death had a magical effect on the communal situation in the country”, “Gandhi’s pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists” and “Organisations like RSS were banned for some time” are among the texts missing from the class 12 political science textbook for the new academic session.
The portions referring to Gujarat riots have also been dropped from class 11 sociology textbook, months after NCERT removed the reference to the 2022 communal violence in two class 12 textbooks.