NCERT Chief Faces Backlash Over ‘Babri Masjid Demolition’

    NCERT chief defends textbook revisions amidst controversy over exclusion of Babri Masjid demolition references, emphasizing positive values in education.

    The CBSE affiliated approximately 30,000 schools follow the NCERT curriculum across the country. It is the fourth time that the NCERT textbooks have been reviewed since 2014.

    One cannot teach hatred and therefore hatred is not something that school texts should portray, the director of India’s premier educational institution NCERT said while referring to the recent changes in the books. These slight changes are such that references to the Babri Masjid demolition and the BJP’s Ram Rath Yatra led by its veteran, Lal Krishna Advani have been dropped. NCERT has developed a curriculum that is adopted in approximately 30,000 CBSE-affiliated schools.

    Speaking to news agency PTI, NCERT director Dinesh Prasad Saklani dismissed the charges of saffronisation of the syllabi and claimed that the changes in the books are part of a regular revision process.

    When Mr Saklani was asked about the omission of facts about the Babri masjid demolition or any reference to communal violence in its aftermath, he said, “Why are we teaching about riots in school textbooks? We are instilling positive values that will enable the youth to become good citizens and not violent and demoralized citizens. ”

    “Should we teach our students in a manner that they become offensive, create hatred in society, or become victims of hatred? Is that education’s purpose? Should we teach about riots to such young children?…when they grow up, they can deliberate on it, but why school textbooks? Let them understand what happened and why it happened when they grow up. The hue and cry about the changes is irrelevant,” he said.

    A Class 12 political science textbook has reduced the Ayodhya Babri Masjid, which was demolished on December 6, 1992, into a ‘three-domed structure. ’ Further, the aspect explained is the Supreme Court judgment that lets the construction of the Ram Temple.

    “If the Supreme Court has come with a verdict in favor of Ram temple, Babri masjid, or Ram Janmabhoomi, why should it not be in our textbook, what is wrong with the new updates We have constructed new Parliament, should our students not get to know about it It is our responsibility to include the new changes and also the old changes too,” he added.

    Regarding the points raised by Mr Saklani in the allegation of saffronisation, Saqlani further said, ”If something has become irrelevant then it will have to be changed Why should it not be changed? I do not see any saffronisation here We teach history so that students must know the facts, not a fight ground.

    Speaking to Indian Express, the NCERT chief countered that did anyone ever explained how teaching about the Indian knowledge system was saffronisation. ‘If we are saying we were talking about the iron pillar at Mehrauli and if saying the Indians were way ahead of any metallurgical scientist, that could be wrong? How can that be saffronisation?’

    Earlier, he served as the head of the Department of Ancient History for some years at the Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University before joining the NCERT in 2022.

    On the issue of updating Current Textbooks, he said that it was a practice embraced all over the world and that he considered as commendable in the line of education. “As for what is changed, that is decided by the subject and pedagogy specialists themselves; I have no input and do not make any demands written in the ‘directive. ’ To repeat, there is no dictate from above,” he said.

    This process of rewriting the NCERT textbooks is the fourth round of revision being done after 2014.



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