Court tells ICSE panel to remove ‘offensive passages’
A Delhi court has directed the Council of the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) to exclude offensive citations of some of India’s most famous freedom fighters from its history and civics curriculum. The order is binding from the beginning of the next academic session in 1,793 schools across the country. The CISCE conducts the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) examination.
According to the petition filed by Dina Nath Batra, national convener of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, the chapter titled Revival of Terrorism in Standard 10 history books casts a negative light on the freedom fighters.
“Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal have been referred to as militants and extremists, while Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev as terrorists,” read the petition. There are similar passages in the civics book too. The books have been published by Goyal Brothers Prakashan and written by DN Kundra.
Additional district judge Inder Jeet Singh said: “The Union of India, the ICSE and Kundra are restrained to issue appropriate instructions/guidelines, either in their regular standing instructions/curriculum/syllabus that such objectionable passages, that is, Militant, Radical, Rationalism or Extremism, Extremist, Militant Nationalism, out of desperation, they took to terrorism, terrorist remained more active, extremist party, took to terrorism, impact of revolutionary terrorism on national movement, or the like expressions, are not to be taught or published in any form by the concerned or affiliated schools (sic)”.
Monika Arora, Batra’s counsel, said: “The ICSE has taken an anti-view of our freedom fighters’ struggle, who laid their lives to free our country from the clutches of Englishmen.”
Maharashtra has 118 ICSE schools, Mumbai and Delhi have 60, NCR 30. Over 1 lakh students from Maharashtra opt for ICSE board every year.
“It is unfortunate that despite getting freedom in 1947, such objectionable and insulting portions regarding our historical past have not been removed from the course material,” Batra alleged in his petition.
His counsel argued that the current curriculum can pollute the young minds of our country.