The NCERT textbooks were recently in controversy after the government decided to scrap chapters on citizenship, nationalism and secularism in a bid to reduce the burden of the syllabus for students amid the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of regular school activities.
In a fresh new controversy which may again ignite a debate about politics and curriculum in our times, the NCERT has now revised a chapter pertaining to the rise of separatism in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir for the intermediate political science textbook and has removed all content pertaining to the rise of separatist politics in the Valley.
If a comparison were to be made between the contents of the chapter from the old version of the book and the revised and new version, it would be clear that the topic ‘Separatism and Beyond’ which spoke about how separatist politics came into being and operated in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has been deleted. The portion of the text that has been deleted from the textbook reads,
“Separatist politics which surfaced in Kashmir from 1989 has taken different forms and is made up of various strands. There is one strand of separatists who was a separate Kashmiri nation, independent of India and Pakistan. There are groups that want Kashmir to merge with Pakistan. Besides these, there is a third strand which wants greater autonomy for the people of the State within the Indian union. The idea of autonomy attracts people of Jammu and Ladakh regions in a different way. They often complain of neglect and backwardness. Therefore, the demand for intra-State autonomy is as strong as the demand for the State autonomy.”
The previous version of the chapter also spoke about the rise of militancy and how it gradually led to the urge for peace with sustained efforts and negotiations by the Centre with various separatist groups.
A very important report was carried on this issue in The Indian Express, wherein it clearly mentions that the NCERT has undertaken the revision of a chapter from the class twelfth Political Science textbook and has replaced portions that spoke of the separatist movement in the Jammu and Kashmir region with content on electoral politics and the need for scrapping its special status in recent times.
In another important chapter from the textbook, ‘Regional Aspirations’, the topic of how from an erstwhile state, Jammu and Kashmir was made into a Union Territory has been discussed.
The new version of the chapter also talks about how the democratically elected coalition governments of PDP and Congress, NC and Congress and the BJP and PDP in 2014 have dealt with politics in the state. The chapter also talks about the introduction of a new wave of politics in Jammu and Kashmir under the present era and how the scrapping of Article 37o came about. Apart from these significant portions from the chapters, an important political cartoon also stands removed.