A team of educationalists has termed the new Rajasthan board textbooks as “shallow,” cast in the “Hindutwa framework” and decided to move the high court against them.
The team comprised educationists, like Hindi professor Apoorvanand of Delhi University. former NCERT committee member Rajeev Gupta, RTI activist and educationist Nikhil Dey, Komal Shrivastava of Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti and others.
The review was necessitated following a political storm over removal of chapters on Jawaharlal Nehru and the Right to Information (RTI) from the new textbooks. The review panel began its review last week and each subject expert got two days’ time to vet the textbooks from Class 1 to Class 9 and a few books from Class 11 and 12.
The team released a brief report to the media on Sunday.
Apoorvanand observed, “Nowhere in the world, textbooks are brought out in a span of 45 days.”
The books have been edited in the framework of Hindutva ideology, he said and cited a Class 9 Social Studies book as an example where a chapter on Sindhu Ghati Culture (Indus Valley Civilization) has been renamed Sindhu Saraswati Culture which resonates with the RSS’ recreation of history. The change appears to be an attempt to show that Indus Valley civilization was part of the Vedic culture, without any evidence.
“This mixture of history and mythology is likely to confuse the students.”
He also referred to a Class 9 book which shows Aryans as the native of India and defines Arya as a word meaning higher qualities. In the section on World Wars I and II, the role of Hitler and Fascism has been omitted. In Class 11, a chapter glorifying Hitler has been added.
Rajeev Gupta, retired professor from Rajasthan University, said Class 7 textbooks mention that strikes are wrong and improper which suggests the National Trade Union Act is wrong. “In the new books, displacement of only Sindhi community during India’s partition has been mentioned. The new edition does not adequately represent marginalised communities, like Dalits and tribals,” Gupta stated.
Nikhil Dey and Shanker Singh termed the removal of a chapter on the RTI from Class 8 textbook as an attempt to erase the acknowledgement of the RTI and the role of the common man in getting through the act.
Komal Shrivastava said, “In the science book of Class 8, the chapter on bio- diversity begins with a shloka from the Vishnu Puran, which is not even connected with the subject. Towards the end of the chapter too there are Sanskrit shlokas. This is not required in science books.”
Shrivastava also expressed surprise as to why the chapter on animal reproduction was removed from Class 8 textbook but that of plants retained.
Ravi Kant, a maths expert, observed that the new books focused on Vedic maths, failed to encourage mathematical and analytical skills, which has been laid down as one of the objectives of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005).
However, school education minister Vasudev Devnani said the textbook had been changed to instill the feeling of nationalism among students.