NCERT: Need not notify minor deletions from textbooks

Days after The Indian Express reported that certain sentences on Mahatma Gandhi, his assassin Nathuram Godse, the role of Hindu extremists and the 2002 Gujarat riots had been deleted from school textbooks, the NCERT has said “minor” changes need not be notified as they are “regular” in nature.

In a statement uploaded on its website, the council said the deleted portions did not figure in the official list of deletions announced last year as “minor deletions” are not notified to avoid “any confusion at the level of teachers and student”.

“Details of rationalisation for each book was also uploaded on the website along with textbook in PDF form while the rationalized textbooks were in printing. However, it may be noted that reprinting of textbooks taking care of suggestions of stakeholders is a regular process which takes place every year,” the statement added.

In June 2022, the NCERT made public a list of changes and deletions in the reprinted textbooks that came into the market recently. However, many deletions, including the ones on Mahatma Gandhi, were not notified.

The NCERT statement said, “In view of avoiding any confusion at the level of teachers and students, minor deletion or addition if any, are not notified. In the context of rationalisation exercise also some minor deletions (a sentence or a word or a phrase, etc.) were done, which were not included in the details of the notification of the rationalisation, as this was under the regular process of reprinting of textbooks.”

The council added that it “firmly stands on its version that nothing has been removed or deleted after rationalisation undertaken in academic session 2022-2023”. The factors cited by the NCERT behind the deletions include content which are “overlapping”, “not relevant or outdated in the present context”, “difficult”,“easily accessible to children and can be learned through self-learning or peer-learning”.

Apart from its in-house experts, the NCERT had brought in 25 external experts, drawn from the faculty of Delhi University, ICHR, Kendriya Vidyalayas and private schools, for carrying out the rationalisation. But deletions have been questioned by Opposition, as well as noted scholars.

The deletions by the NCERT include lines such as “He (Gandhi) was particularly disliked by those who wanted Hindus to take revenge or who wanted India to become a country for the Hindus, just as Pakistan was for Muslims”.

The line was a part of the class 12 political science textbook.

“His (Gandhi) steadfast pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists so much that they made several attempts to assassinate Gandhiji… Gandhiji’s death had an almost magical effect on the communal situation in the country…The government cracked down on organisations that were spreading communal hatred. Organisations like RSS were banned for some time…” are among lines which stand deleted.


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