Pedagogic critiques on the current political regime’s denial of democratic voices can be viewed in the light of recent chapter cuts in NCERT textbooks.
The New Leam Staff
Much has been written and said about the onslaught on public institutions, the purposeful decadence of public universities, the dilution of important sources of authority and the overall debunking of the democratic ethos within the nation under the current political regime.
The present regime has been accused of harbouring an antipathy to the vibrant political culture in the nation and has been considered one that believes that social movements and mobilization of people from the grassroots is nothing but an obstacle in the path of the neo-liberal aspirations of the state. Those who have argued and voiced their concerns in this regard will once again be disappointed at a recent development concerning the field of pedagogy.
As we witness the biggest event of democracy- the Lok Sabha elections and talk about India being the world’s largest democracy and how crucial it is for its citizens to exercise their right to franchise- the NCERT has conveniently decided to drop an entire chapter concerning democracy in the contemporary world.
The chapter that has been deleted is from the class 9th political science book and is entitled ‘Democracy in the Contemporary World’. The decision to drop this important chapter was allegedly taken by a committee within the NCERT that invited no expert from the field.
Moreover, what is paradoxical is the fact that the committee that had formed the textbook was not even consulted before deleting this chapter.
The committee of political scientists and experts in the social studies who had finalised and worked towards the completion of the political science book in 2005, was hardly spoken to or consulted before having taken this significant decision.
It is a painful reminder of the arbitrariness and willful degeneration of education and the politics in the nation. The deletion of the significant chapter shall be a reason for concern for us all.
What we must also acknowledge is the fact that debates regarding the removal of significant NCERT chapters also took place during the UPA regime but what is problematic here is that unlike in the UPA era, no expert committee was consulting before deleting the portion. The procedure for adding/deleting portions from textbook has a multi-layered execution process and cannot be done through random wish.
It is also sad that in a nation like India, the NCERT is uninterested in enabling students to read on democracy and the emergency with which textbooks are being altered is disturbing. It is painful to witness that such an important part of the syllabus that discussed the progress of democracy throughout the world, the movements that led to the expansion of democracy and the end of colonialism and starting of universal adult franchise has been so conveniently deleted from this political science textbook. This comes weeks after NCERT deleted chapters on caste struggles in India, the history of clothing and colonialism and its relationship to cricket.