Wrong portrayal of freedom fighters in textbooks should be corrected: Par panel


PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 30-11-2021 20:42 IST | Created: 30-11-2021 20:42 IST
Wrong portrayal of freedom fighters in textbooks should be corrected: Par panel
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Noting that many historical figures and freedom fighters have been portrayed in an incorrect manner as ''offenders'', a parliamentary panel has recommended that wrong portrayal of the heroes of India's freedom struggle should be corrected to give them due respect in history textbooks.

The report of the standing committee, titled ''Reforms in Content and Design of School Text Books'', lays emphasis on the need to make additions from Sikh and Maratha history in the curriculum as well as making the books gender-inclusive.

The report of the panel headed by Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, noted that Indian history writing needs a thorough professional review due to ideological biases and political considerations suffered by it in the past.

''The committee during its interaction noted that many of the historical figures and freedom fighters of Indian freedom struggle have been portrayed in an incorrect manner as offenders. Therefore, the Committee is of the view that wrong portrayal of our heroes of freedom struggle should be corrected and they should be given due respect in our history textbooks,'' the report said.

''...in the context of the unequal representation of various periods and dynasties in the history textbooks by the stakeholders, (the Committee) observes that NCERT should take a relook at the guidelines for the writing of the history textbooks so that equal weightage and importance is given to the various eras, periods and events in the history textbooks,” it added.

The panel noted that school textbooks do not give adequate coverage to some of the great Indian empires like that of Vikramaditya, Cholas, Chalukyas, Vijaynagar, Gondwana or that of Travancore and Ahoms of North-Eastern region, whose contributions in expansion of India's standing on the world stage cannot be ignored.

''New discoveries are taking place, new facts are coming up, and textbooks just cannot remain the same. This is worsened if the history is written with certain pre-conceived biases resulting out of politically-constrained ideological bindings,'' the panel said.

''History writing in India has suffered on these unacceptable considerations, and it must be extracted -- and liberated -- out of gross subjectivity and ideological bias to transparent objectivity, and openness of mind, willingness to enter into dialogue with those holding diametrically opposite views,” it added.

The committee noted that new facts have emerged around us, including Aryan invasion theory, Saraswati River, Ram Setu, and so many more, solely because of new scientific advancements and new tools that have led to new researches.

''These just cannot be ignored in preparing new textbooks. The British tried to downgrade the great contributions of ancient India in philosophy, 25 science, mathematics, spirituality, medicine and other fields and it was continued to be neglected in our textbooks. While considerable initiatives were taken for removing gender bias and caste discriminations, history writing remained confined to the hegemony of a select group of few academics for over five decades,'' the report said.

The committee, while suggesting that NCERT and SCERTs should primarily focus on providing core content through their textbooks, recommended that to maintain uniformity in educational standards of school students across the country the Ministry of Education should explore the possibility of developing a core class-wise common syllabus for various subjects for implementation by CBSE, CICSE and various other State education boards.

The Committee received approximately 20,000 representations from experts, individuals and organisations on the subject pointing to discrepancies/omissions in the school textbooks. Speaking on history, the Committee in its discussions with the stakeholders observes ''that the United Nations, through one of its most important agencies, namely UNESCO, had formulated comprehensive guidelines for history which would foster world peace, tolerance and advancement of universal values of democracy and human rights''.

''They emphasized on the need for highlighting social, economic, cultural and scientific history and the requirement for toning down the history of conflicts. Hitherto marginalized groups, especially women, and the values of 'Unity in Diversity' and 'pluralism' should gain prominence in the teaching of history,'' the report said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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