NCERT Pushes for Textbook Reforms, Questions Aryans’ Settlement in India

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has initiated further revisions in textbooks, introducing controversial changes regarding the origin of the Harappan Civilization, Aryans’ settlement in India, the history of Birsa Munda, and the Nayanars. These modifications are part of the 2024-25 educational reforms, with revised textbook drafts recently handed over to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

One significant alteration occurs in the lesson titled ‘Bricks, Beads and Bones’, focusing on the rise and fall of the Harappan Civilization within the ‘Themes in Indian History Part-1’ textbook for 12th graders. Notably, a new segment has been added to address the absence of Aryan genes in ancient DNA samples discovered at Raghigad in Haryana. This addition asserts that further studies are necessary to ascertain whether the Aryans indeed settled in India.

Moreover, several noteworthy omissions have been made, including sections on communal riots from the ‘Indian Society’ lesson in the 12th-grade Sociology textbook. Additionally, content related to Shiva devotees known as Nayanars has been removed from the seventh-grade history textbook titled ‘Our Past-2’.

Furthermore, adjustments have been made to the portrayal of Birsa Munda’s resistance against missionaries and landlords in the chapter ‘Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age’ from the sixth-grade history textbook. The term ‘Hindu’ has been eliminated from the description of landlords, with an explanation provided that landlords belonged to various religions during that period.

The revisions also extend to discussions on tribal struggles for justice and their economic hardships due to projects such as the Narmada Sarovar Dam and Godavari Polavaram Dam, as reflected in the 12th-grade Sociology textbook.

These revisions underscore NCERT’s ongoing efforts to refine the content of educational materials, sparking debates and discussions about historical narratives and sociocultural representations in Indian textbooks.

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