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A high-level committee for social sciences, constituted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to revise the school curriculum, has recommended replacing the name ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in textbooks and introducing ‘classical History’ instead of ancient History in the curriculum, said committee’s chairperson CI Issac on Wednesday.
Issac said the unanimous recommendation given by the seven-member committee of the has found mention in its final position paper on social sciences, which is a key prescriptive document for laying down the foundation for the development of new NCERT textbooks.
The Article 1(1) of the Constitution already states “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”.
Bharat is an age-old name. The use of the name Bharat finds its mention in ancient texts such as Vishnu Purana, which is 7,000 years old, said Issac.
“The term India started being used commonly only after the establishment of the East India Company and the battle of Plassey in 1757,” he said. Therefore, the committee has unanimously recommended that the name ‘Bharat’ should be used in textbooks for students across classes, said Issac.
The name Bharat first appeared officially after the government sent out G20 invites hosted by the President in the name of ‘President of Bharat’, instead of ‘President of India’.
Later, the nameplate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Summit in New Delhi also read ‘Bharat’ instead of India.
Issac further said that the committee, which is one of the 25 committees formed by the NCERT in 2021 to prepare position papers on various subjects and themes, has further recommended introducing ‘classical history’ instead of ‘ancient history’ in the textbooks.
He said that the British divided Indian history into three phases – ancient, medieval and modern showing India in darkness, unaware of scientific knowledge and progress. However, many examples of India’s achievements in that age include Aryabhatta’s work on the solar system model, he said.
“Therefore, we have suggested that the classical period of Indian History be taught in schools along with medieval and modern periods,” Issac said.
He said that the committee has also recommended highlighting “Hindu victories” in the textbooks.
“Our failures are presently mentioned in the textbooks. But our victories over the Mughals and Sultans are not,” said Issac, who is also a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
Besides, the committee has also recommended the introduction of the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) in the curriculum of all subjects.
The NCERT is revising the curriculum of the school textbooks in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The council has recently constituted a 19-member National Syllabus and Teaching Learning Material Committee (NSTC) to finalise the curriculum, textbooks and learning material for these classes.
Fareeha Iftikhar is a Special Correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. She tracks the education ministry, and covers the beat at the national level for the newspaper. She also writes on issues related to gender, human rights and different policy matters.
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