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Deletions in social science textbooks: History in the service of politics


A refrain among Hindutva votaries is the over-emphasis on “Muslim” rulers in textbooks on medieval India. (Representational/Pixabay) A common refrain when talking of changes in curriculum is “reducing the content load on students”. The recent notification on the “rationalisation” of content in the textbooks by the NCERT begins with this assertion, adding that it is in keeping with the National Education Policy 2020, which also advocates creative experiential learning. We are told that the basis for the rationalisation is repetition in other subjects or the same subject books in different years, the “difficulty level”, accessibility for students by themselves, and “irrelevant” content in the “present context”. A series of reports in this paper has revealed substantive deletions in social science textbooks from Class VI-XII. Scrutiny of some of the deletions in the history textbooks shows that such academic downsizing raises serious concerns.

The Class VI book has some deletions that substantively alter the information and interpretation conveyed. Deletions on varna relate to birth as the basis of the caste system enunciated by the priestly Brahmin class, and the contestation of the superior status of the Brahmins, especially by the kings. The discussion on the development of agriculture due to the […]

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