NCERT officials, however, said no decision has been taken yet on the panel's recommendations. (Representational Image/PTI)
NEW DELHI: A high-level committee constituted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training has suggested that "India" should be called "Bharat" in all social science textbooks up to Class 12.
The NCERT’s 2022 social science committee, set up to revise the school curriculum, has also suggested replacing the "ancient history" with the "classical period of Indian history". Prof. C.I. Isaac, the committee chairperson, said: "We are hoping it will be implemented from the next academic year, but it all depends on NCERT."
Prof Issac is a historian and a Padma Shri awardee. Other members of the committee include ICHR chairperson Raghuvendra Tanwar, Vandana Mishra, Professor, JNU’s Prof Vandana Mishra, Deccan College Deemed University’s former V-C Vasant Shine and Haryana government school sociology teacher Mamta Yadav.
NCERT chairman Dinesh Saklani, however, said no decision has been taken yet on the committee’s recommendations. "Nowhere in it (National Curriculum Framework) is written that the name should be changed. These are rumours. No such thing is being done. Whosoever has claimed must show documents. We haven’t done it," he told PTI.
Reacting to these reports, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said: "Our perspective is far more profound when it comes to Bharat, whether it is India, Bharat or Hindustan, they (BJP) won’t understand. They only focus on their electoral gains in everything they do."
Prof. Issac claimed that the unanimous recommendation given by the seven-member committee has found mention in its final position paper on the social sciences, which is a key prescriptive document for laying down the foundation for the development of new NCERT textbooks. Article 1(1) of the Constitution already states: "India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States".
"Bharat" is an age-old name. Prof Issac said the use of the name "Bharat" finds its mention in ancient texts such as Vishnu Purana, which is 7,000 years old. "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," he added.
The proposed change in NCERT books has been recommended a little after the country witnessed a debate that began in September after the Union government used "President of Bharat" instead of "President of India" in the invites sent out for G-20 dinner hosted. Subsequently, in the G-20 heads of states’ meeting, the nameplate kept in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mentioned the term "Bharat" instead of "India".
Prof Isaac claimed the committee has also recommended highlighting "Hindu victories" in various battles in the textbooks. "Our failures are presently mentioned in the textbooks. But our victories over the Mughals and sultans are not."
Prof Isaac said: "The British had divided Indian history into three phases -- ancient, medieval and modern -- showing India in darkness, unaware of scientific knowledge and progress. Therefore, we have suggested that the classical period of Indian history be taught in schools, along with the medieval and modern periods."
NCERT is revising the curriculum of the school textbooks in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The council recently constituted a 19-member National Syllabus and Teaching Learning Material Committee (NSTC) to finalise the curriculum, textbooks and learning material for these classes.
Prof Isaac said, "The committee has also recommended the introduction of the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) in the curriculum of all subjects."