New Delhi: In what could give fresh ammunition to the opposition Congress accusing the ruling BJP of stifling democratic and popular movement in the country, NCERT has dropped a chapter on ‘Democracy In the Contemporary World’ from the Class IX textbook.
The chapter mapped the progress of democracy throughout the world since the 1950s and talked of different phases in the expansion of democracy, the end of colonialism and universal adult franchise. Democracy in India’s neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal was also discussed.
News portal The Wire, which carried the report, asked NCERT Director Hrushikesh Senapathy for his reaction.
“The changes have been made in a democratic way. We had asked for public opinion and received one lakh suggestions from 27,000 people. A curriculum committee within the NCERT then analysed it and carried out the changes.” But he did not answer why the authors of the book were not consulted.
No one involved with the finalisation of the textbook in 2005 was consulted. Historian Hari Vasudevan, who headed the advisory committee for NCERT textbooks in 2005, told The Wire: “The arbitrariness and willfulness do not send the right message at the time of elections. Moreover, it is about removing the chapter on democracy.”
Vasudevan also does not understand why the NCERT is not keen to present material – in this case on democracy – to students. He said schools were permitted to choose chapters they wanted to teach. “What was the emergency now?” he asked, calling the entire process ‘unfortunate.’