Move away from colonial mindset, encourage use of Bharatiya languages, NCERT says

The Ministry of Education was responding to a question regarding the prospective use of the word ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’ in textbooks

December 06, 2023 09:24 pm | Updated 09:34 pm IST - New Delhi

Image for representation.

Image for representation. | Photo Credit: File

On being asked if the Centre has received any recommendation from a panel of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to use the word ‘Bharat’ in place of ‘India’ in textbooks, the Ministry of Education in its reply in the Parliament stated that India’s Constitution recognises both India and Bharat as the official names of the country which can be used interchangeably. 

“The NCERT duly acknowledges this spirit as enshrined in our Constitution and does not differentiate between the two,” the reply further said. 

Editorial | India that is Bharat: On a name game 

“As we collectively move away from the colonial mindset and encourage the usage of the words in Bharatiya bhasha [Indian languages], NCERT, as an autonomous body under the aegis of the Ministry of Education involved in preparation of school curriculum and textbooks, will also do its best in furthering the same,” the MoE reply said. 

Communist Party of India Member of Parliament P. Santhosh Kumar said that “the India vs Bharat debate is artificially created to polarise opinion and divide the people”.

“This controversy has now entered the curriculum through NCERT recommendations. The Ministry could not explain why it’s promoting the usage of Bharat instead of India which are interchangeable according the the Constitution. This understanding suggests that the name India is a colonial construct and everything related to it is colonial baggage. This understanding is contrary to the inclusive ethos of our freedom movement,” Mr. Kumar said. 

Also Read | Name change from ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’ in textbooks goes beyond the powers of NCERT, says Vaiko

“The government’s intent on dividing the country through pitting India vs Bharat has been exposed in their own admission. The formation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance has made them very of the work India itself. This narrow, undemocratic and monolithic thought process should be opposed,” Mr. Kumar added.

A controversy erupted in October after recommendations of a high-level committee set up by NCERT aimed to revise school curriculum and proposed that ‘India’ should be replaced with ‘Bharat‘ in the textbooks. The NCERT had then said that it was ‘too premature’ to comment on the issue.

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