NCERT drops text on Gandhi, RSS ban from Class 12 political science book

NCERT director says ‘rationalisation exercise’ was done last year, nothing new has happened this year

NCERT Syllabus
As part of its “syllabus rationalisation” exercise last year, the NCERT, citing “overlapping” and “irrelevant” as reasons, dropped certain portions from the course | Pic: iStock

Several sections have gone missing from the Class-12 political science textbook for the new academic session even though the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) claims that no curriculum has been trimmed this year and the syllabus was “rationalised” last year.

Among the missing text in the political science textbook are “Gandhiji’s death had magical effect on communal situation in the country,” “Gandhi’s pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists,” and “Organisations like RSS were banned for some time.”

A text reading, “Communal politics began to lose its appeal” in reference to the time after Gandhi’s death in 1948 was also removed from the textbook.

Also read: NCERT textbooks row | Modern Indian history should start from 2014: Sibal’s dig at govt


“Syllabus rationalisation”

“The entire rationalisation exercise was done last year; there is nothing new which has happened this year,” said NCERT director Dinesh Saklani. However, the “rationalisation note” had no mention of the excerpts about Mahatma Gandhi and Saklani did not comment on that.

As part of its “syllabus rationalisation” exercise last year, the NCERT, citing “overlapping” and “irrelevant” as reasons, dropped certain portions from the course. These included lessons on Gujarat riots, Mughal courts, Emergency, Cold War, and Naxalite movement, among others.

A note by NCERT on its website reads, “In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was felt imperative to reduce content load on students. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also emphasises reducing the content load and providing opportunities for experiential learning with creative mindset. In this background, the NCERT had undertaken the exercise to rationalise the textbooks across all classes and all subjects.”

“The present edition is a reformatted version after carrying out the changes. The present textbooks are rationalised textbooks. These were rationalised for the session 2022-23 and will continue in 2023-24,” it adds.

Also read: NCERT removes content on Mughal history, Gujarat riots from its textbooks

New curriculum from 2024

Among the reasons cited for the choice of dropped subjects during rationalisation are content based on genres of literature in the textbooks and supplementary readers in different stages of school education. Another reason was to reduce the curriculum load and exam stress in view of the pandemic.

Subjects that are easily accessible to students without much intervention from teachers and that can be learned by children through self-learning or peer learning and content which is “irrelevant” in the present context were also dropped from the curriculum.

An official from the education ministry, who did not wish to be identified, said the new curriculum framework, according to the NEP, is still being worked out and the new textbooks following the updated curriculum will only be introduced from the 2024 academic session.

(With agency inputs)