Revisions must be in sync with consensus of existing scholarship, they say
Over 100 historians from India and abroad recently endorsed a letter to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education expressing concern over proposed changes to National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) history textbooks and objected to the allegation that the books contained “unhistorical facts and distortions”.
A statement by Maya John of Delhi University, one of the signatories, said the historians submitted their response to the panel on July 15.
The panel had sought submissions regarding “removing references to unhistorical facts and distortions about our national heroes from textbooks, ensuring equal or proportionate references to all periods of Indian history, and highlighting the role of great historic women heroes”.
“In their submission on July 15, the concerned historians expressed their dismay and penned numerous objections to the widely circulating allegations that the NCERT school history textbooks carry ‘unhistorical facts and distortions’,” the statement read.
Among the main concerns raised were the unsubstantiated allegations about “distortions, the maligning of the scholarship that went into making the textbooks and the adverse effect on the social fabric that the current revision exercise may have.
“Moreover, the concerned historians also emphasised that revisions in textbooks must be in sync with the consensus of existing historical scholarship so as to produce books of scholarly merit,” the statement read.
They also said that the exercise of textbook revision cannot be carried out with the intention of placating a particular ideology.
Among the signatories were Romila Thapar, Mukul Kesavan and professors from Delhi University, Panjab University, University of Toronto and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
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