Textbooks creating activists, rues ICSSR chief

B. B. Kumar says books are in bad shape with several lapses

July 02, 2017 10:12 pm | Updated 10:12 pm IST - New Delhi

The Administration Block at the JNU campus.

The Administration Block at the JNU campus.

Textbooks today are aimed at creating “activists” and not educating students, the newly-appointed chief of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) Braj Bihari Kumar has said, terming universities like the JNU a “nurturing ground” for such activists.

Mr. Kumar, who took over as the head of the apex body for promoting research in social sciences last month, also believes that caste-based conflicts and intolerance are “fringe” phenomena and should not be seen as a reflection of Indian society as a whole.

“Textbooks are not meant for making students activists but for educating them. Unfortunately the books are driven by an agenda today and there is a need for a curriculum rehaul,” the 76-year-old former anthropologist, who once famously called Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “worst victim of intolerance”, said.

Political agenda

“Textbooks are in bad shape today. I had found a map in a social science textbook which showed Jammu and Kashmir out of India; there was another one not showing northeast area as part of the country. There are several lapses in our textbooks,” Mr. Kumar said.

Mr. Kumar, was editor of a journal, Dialogue , before he joined the ICSSR, had written in an editorial in 2016 that “NCERT textbooks are driven by political agenda and are partly responsible for the increasing social conflicts and anarchical trends in society”.

Mr. Kumar lashed out at “JNU-like universities”, claiming “several persons from a single family are massacred in Chhattisgarh and there is jubilation in JNU and a march, much cannot be said about the kind of varsity that is.” He, however, did not elaborate.

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