NCERT Director’s allegations against Sahmat
Sahmat’s attention has been drawn to a press release (No. 3/2002) issued by NCERT on 1 February, containing statements by its Director, Dr. J.S. Rajput. While attacking Sahmat’s note (31.1.2002) on the new NCERT syllabus, Dr. Rajput claims to be the head of a ‘professional’ organization. Such a claim is belied by the kind of language he uses and the motives he so readily reads into any criticism of the syllabus.
While the Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi, when he runs out of arguments, calls historians not subscribing to his ideology ‘worse than terrorists’ and working as ‘a mafia’, his minions in the NCERT degrade themselves to call the critics of the NCERT syllabus ‘anti-national’. This only confirms the fears expressed by a very wide range of the intelligentsia that the present government’s policies in education are not merely a promotion of a vicious ideology but constitute an assault on rational discourse itself. Instead of meeting the arguments presented in the Sahmat press conference of January 31, 2002, the Director of the NCERT, a non-historian himself, has sought to justify the errors, omissions and deliberate distortions in the history syllabus as ‘reducing curriculum load’.
misrepresentation’ to Sahmat is absurd. The ‘units’ in a syllabus assign weights to individual topics. There was a petty conspiracy behind the thrusting of the bulk of medieval India into just one unit, out of the three assigned to Medieval India as a whole. Now Rajput himself acknowledges that it was wrong to have only three units, and within a day has increased the three to twenty-three units! This shows how cavalier NCERT is in playing with the syllabus. But multiplying units is just an arithmetic exercise; one does not know what relative weights are assigned to various topics. Nor does it remove the basic falsification in the syllabus, like claiming Chanakya to be the builder of Indian unity, and omitting important matters like the origins of Dravidian and other Indian languages, and the rise of the caste system. Not a single point raised in the Sahmat press release has been substantially refuted by the NCERT statement.
Rajput’s claim that Sahmat divides Indian history into ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ periods is absurd and mischievous, and has been made simply to hide the NCERT’s current effort to bring religious bias into the syllabus.
Sahmat will issue a supplementary exposure of the various falsifications, motivated omissions and ignorant errors in the NCERT syllabus, and does not intend to stop in its opposition to saffronisation in Rajput’s and his minister’s ‘interest’, which he so arrogantly confuses with the ‘national interest’.