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Big Changes To Class 12 Textbooks, No References To Babri Masjid: Report

The NCERT has made five major amendments to Class 12 political science textbooks, dropping references to the demolition of the Babri Masjid and flagging the “decline” of the Congress after the 1989 general election, the Indian Express reported this week.

The apex educational body – which advises the centre on policies and programmes for “qualitative improvement” of school learning – has also revised Class 12 history textbooks, linking modern India’s roots to the Harappan civilisation, over the Aryan migration theory. The theory was first suggested by Western scholars who believed a race of European or Central Asians displaced the Harappans.

In Chapter 8 of the political science textbook, apart from highlighting the Ram Janmabhoomi movement (and eliminating three mentions of the Babri Masjid) and the Congress’ downturn, the NCERT has included revisions relating to the 1990 Mandal Commission, the economic reforms starting from 1991, and the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

According to the NCERT, “content is update per latest development in politics. The text on Ayodhya has been thoroughly revised because of the changes brought by the Supreme Court’s Constitutional bench verdict (the landmark judgement allotting the land on which the mosque stood to the Hindu petitioners) and its widespread welcoming reception.”

The Ayodhya issue, and the points mentioned above, have been listed as the five critical recent developments in Indian politics. With relation to the former, the report said there is a four-page section that revises the sequence of events and suggested the communal violence that followed the mosque’s demolition as being triggered by “mobilisation by both sides”.

In another instance, the NCERT has said the Ayodhya developments “are associated with the rise of the BJP and the politics of ‘Hindutva'”. In these and other instances, references to the demolition of the Babri Masjid have been removed.

Changes have also been made to the history and sociology books for Class 7 to 10, the Indian Express said, quoting an NCERT statement, The biggest change, though, is to the Class 12 book, specifically a chapter called ‘Bricks, Beads, and Bones – The Harappan Civilisation’.

According to the Indian Express, the changes referencing the Harappans have been introduced due to “recent evidence from archaeological sites”, and underline “unbroken continuity” of what is also called the Indus Valley Civilisation. At the heart of these changes is “recent archaeogenic research” from an excavation site in Haryana’s Rakhigarhi, which claims the Harappans as “indigenous” people.

“The DNA of the Harappans has continued till today and a majority of the South Asian population appears to be their descendants,” the new textbook tells students, and also omits established breaks between early and later Harappan civilisations. It also calls for research into “the relationship between Harappans and Vedic people”.

Also, according to a report by The Wire, Class 12 sociology students will now be told that marginalised communities’ struggles were not marked by poverty and social stigma.

These changes will take effect for 2024/25 and have been communicated to the CBSE, and the changed books – to be used by around four crore students – will be available this month.

Overall, this is the fourth time NCERT textbooks have been revised, or amended, since 2014, including a “rationalization” exercise – which saw further contentious deletions – following the pandemic that the government said was meant to reduce the burden on students.

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(Source: NDTV)

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