NCERT’s ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’ Proposal Sparks Political Debate

Kerala CM suggests that the new directives continue a pattern of biased omissions in educational materials….reports Asian Lite News

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that the recent proposal by the National Council of Educational Research and Training to replace ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in textbooks is unacceptable, but Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said that is not an issue.

Vijayan, in a statement issued here on Thursday night, said as per the decision of NCERT’s Committee on Social Science, the word ‘India’ should be changed to ‘Bharat’ in the textbooks of the academic branch.

“The Constitution refers to our nation as both India and Bharat. The politics behind avoiding India in it is as clear as daylight. The Sangh Parivar fears the inclusive politics represented by the phenomenon called India. The hatred against the word India is part of this,” he said.

While Khan using the same argument said there is nothing wrong in it as the Constitution mentions both India and Bharat and hence it’s fine.

However Vijayan goes on to add that the latest directives should be perceived as an extension of the previous instances of bigoted omissions from educational materials, which encompass the chapters concerning Mughal history and the ban on RSS in the aftermath of Gandhi’s assassination.

“The NCERT is continually supporting efforts by the Sangh Parivar to distort history. The Textbook Committee has been eager to promote the fake narratives of history that the Parivar has been peddling,” pointed out Vijayan.

“The Sangh Parivar has always been opposed to the idea of an ‘India’ based on pluralism and coexistence. The NCERT’s new proposal is the latest example,” he added and urged democratic forces in the country to oppose the unconstitutional proposals in the NCERT committee’s position paper.

Governor Supports Dual Usage

Reacting to the recommendations of a panel of the NCERT to replace the name ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in school textbooks, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan said that it is the constitution which uses both words–India and Bharat. Speaking to the Media, Arif Mohammad Khan said, “Actually our Constitution says and uses both the words, India that is Bharat shall be a union of states…Nobody has proposed to make any amendment in the Constitution.”

This comes as an NCERT panel, headed by historian CI Issac, recommended replacing ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in school textbooks. The recommendations were made by a seven-member Committee for Social Sciences, which is among the committees constituted by the NCERT to prepare position papers on various subjects. Issac said, the “term India started being used commonly only after the establishment of the East India Company and the battle of Plassey in 1757″.”We have unanimously recommended that the ‘Bharat’ should be used in textbooks for students across classes,” Isaac said.

Ever since the panel came up with the aforementioned recommendation, opposition leaders have made a huge outcry over the issue with some even alleging that the BJP government is trying to create “confusion” as several institutions use ‘India’ in their names.
Labelling the move as a “political decision”, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “It is unfortunate that an India Vs Bharat narrative is being put forward. (The words) ‘India that is Bharat’ were inscribed into our Constitution by none other than Dr. BR Ambedkar. The coming generations won’t forgive them (the Centre) for making this differentiation. India is also Bharat and Hindustan for us. If the BJP had any sense of national pride, the name ‘India’ wouldn’t be changed to ‘Bharat’.”

Meanwhile NCERT on Wednesday said that “it is too premature to comment” on reports in sections of media concerning changing ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’ in its textbooks and noted that the development of a new syllabus and textbooks is in the process for which groups of domain experts are being notified by it. (ANI)

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