Have you checked out the revised NCERT textbooks? They are outstanding! They’ve done a brilliant job of eliminating chapters on discredited stuff such as the Mughals (the availability of Mughlai chicken doesn’t necessarily prove that Mughlai humans existed), the 2002 Gujarat riots (another myth, like aliens visiting America in search of a better life), and protest movements (children are better off learning nationalist songs like ‘Goli Maaro’).
It is, nonetheless, annoying to see overeducated intellectuals making a fuss over the deletion of some sections on democracy, equality, and what led to Gandhiji’s assassination. These people have forgotten the purpose of school education — it is certainly not to turn every child into a JNU student.
I got a chance to ask an education ministry official about the thinking behind the textbook rationalisation. He said, “Look, most democracies are imperfect. Their leaders are not up to the mark. That’s why the children have to be taught about democratic rights, etc., so that they can challenge the government if it does something stupid like demonetisation or anti-farmer farm laws. But India is the Mother of Democracy. Here, the citizen has one job only: to obey.”
“Isn’t everyone already taught to obey the law?”
“This is a different level of obedience,” he said. “If they are asked to queue up for 16 hours, they must do so meekly. If they are told they cannot marry someone from a different religion or the same sex, they must obey. If the government orders them to voluntarily link their PAN to Aadhaar and Aadhaar to toilet brush, they better obey!”
“I’ve already linked my Aadhaar to toilet brush,” I said.
“You are a model citizen,” he said. “The larger objective here is to develop our children into responsible adults who will blindly worship their elected king and spend their unemployed days serving as either stormtroopers or cannon fodder for riots and wars.”
As I pondered his words, my brain began to churn out fresh suggestions for further rationalisation of textbooks. Till now the focus has been on history and political science. Here are my proposed changes for STEM subjects.
It was Archimedes, a Greek mathematician who migrated to Varanasi as a child, who discovered the Archimedes Principle which states that the upward buoyant force exerted on a body immersed in Gangajal is equal to the weight of the Gangajal that the body displaces. Archimedes was taking a bath in Ganga water in his bathtub when he made the discovery, and he was so excited, he ran naked out of his house shouting, ‘Bharat Mata ki jai!’
The equation a+b into bracket squared, if you solve this, you get this result: a squared plus b squared plus 2ab. This extra 2ab which you get, where did it come from? Well, it comes from the extra energy that comes from being together and trusting each other. This extra energy of 2ab gives one the strength to take bold decisions. All children must use this extra energy to take the nation forward.
Some gifted individuals are born with an advanced capacity for processing and storing visual input. Their brain, instead of reading a page line by line, simply takes a photograph of the whole page, thereby enabling the person to absorb the entire content in one second. This also makes the person’s memories very goodlooking on camera. Genius persons who have this special neurological power are said to have a ‘photogenic memory’. Please see Appendix for one example of a person with photogenic memory.
Stem cell technology was first invented in India 4,500 years ago. Its most well-known use was by the Kauravas who used it to their great advantage, as documented in the epic Mahabharata. Ancient India also used stem cells to clone the biologist who invented stem cell technology, and it was this clone biologist who then invented the unique plastic surgery technique that was famously used to graft an animal head on a human body.
Shri Neyveli Armstrongamurthy from India is the first human to set foot on the moon, which he did in 2014. India is also the only country to have sent Pushpak Viman to 17 planets in 14 different galaxies. India is right now on the verge of becoming the first country to send not one, not two, but 1.4 billion people into a black hole.
I request NCERT to incorporate all these changes in the next round of rationalisation.
The author of this satire is Social Affairs Editor, ‘The Hindu’.