Changes in education content for political reasons had hit headline recently but HRD minister Kapil Sibal has decided to remain oblivious on the ground that academics is an exclusive domain of the institutions.
Sibal has also broken the trend of two previous HRD ministers - Arjun Singh of Congress and Murli Manohar Joshi of BJP - forcing institutions to remove content they considered improper for students and the society.
The Delhi University was recently hit by controversy of AK Ramanujan's essay, 'Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translations', which illustrate the myriad the story of Rama.
The university's academic council decided to remove the essay from the reading list for Bachelors of Arts (Honours) students even though an expert committee wanted to retain it. The university's decision was taken after right-wing organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had created ruckus in the campus over the essay resulting in protest by students and academic of DU.
"I will not comment," was Sibal's refrain when asked about Ramanujan essay controversy and other attempts to introduce religious text. The reason is that the minister does not want to intervene in academic independence of the institutions.
While most academics agree with Sibal's benign decision, a few differ. "When there is an attempt to introduce religious bias in the textbooks the ministry should intervene," said a historian with a Central government institution, who was not willing to be quoted.
Joshi as HRD minister during NDA regime had got the NCERT textbooks changed they were biased against Hindus. His successor Arjun Singh got the NCERT textbooks revised in a bid to de-saffronise them.