‘Textbook was cleared by eminent historians'

Updated - July 12, 2016 01:39 am IST

Published - June 10, 2012 12:19 am IST - CHENNAI:

Contending that the NCERT textbook on political science did not represent the views or prejudices of one or two authors, Yogendra Yadav, who was chief adviser to the NCERT on the subject, said the book was developed by a large team of political scientists, teachers and educationists.

“Given the very sensitive nature of the book, the entire text was shown to three eminent historians of contemporary India — Professor Sunil Khilnani, Ramachandra Guha and Mahesh Rangarajan. The national monitoring committee constituted a special sub-committee comprising Professor Mrinal Mary, Professor G.P. Deshpande and Gopal Guru.

Asked about the allegation that the cartoon was “factually incorrect” as it showed C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) and the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Bhaktavatsalam, giving a promise against the imposition of Hindi, Mr. Yadav said the cartoon was not commissioned by the NCERT for this textbook. “It appeared in 1965 in The Times of India.

He said a cartoon was an ironical or satirical comment on the politics of the day, and “it is possible that what we remember today is a long-term memory and what a cartoon may be commenting upon is how things appeared that morning.” There was often a tension between these two kinds of memories.

“A cartoon or a photograph appearing in a textbook does not mean an official seal of approval on that representation. These textbooks moved away from the old style of textbook writing. They carry a large number of elements, which the authors may not agree with, or which do not sit easily with the text itself. Indeed, these textbooks carry comments which mock at the textbook itself. This spirit of questioning or critical reasoning is what critical pedagogy is all about,” he reasoned.

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