Controversy Surrounds Suggestion to Rename India as 'Bharat' in NCF

Controversy Surrounds Suggestion to Rename India as 'Bharat' in NCF

Last Updated Oct - 26 - 2023, 07:37 PM | Source : The Indian Express | Visitors : 16

Controversy brews as suggestions to rename India as Bharat in the National Curriculum Framework surface.
Controversy Surrounds Suggestion to Rename India as 'Bharat' in NCF

"India" should be renamed as "Bharat" in social science textbooks, according to a suggestion made by one of the 25 focus groups that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) established two years ago to provide feedback that would then go into the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF).

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Nevertheless, there is no mention of referring to India as "Bharat" in school textbooks in the final NCF paper, which was made public by the Education Ministry on August 23. The document was finished after taking into account feedback from all 25 focus groups. The NCF is a policy document that offers instructions on how classroom instruction should be carried out in schools.

The suggestion on renaming India as Bharat was made by the focus group on social sciences, which was headed by historian CI Isaac. Speaking to The Indian Express, Isaac confirmed that the seven-member panel chaired by him had indeed proposed the name change. “We are hoping it will be implemented from the next academic year, but it all depends on NCERT,” he said.

The NCERT has now started the process of creating new textbooks based on the updated NCF that was published in August. It's unclear if the 25 focus groups whose opinions were intended to be drafted into the NCF will be taken into account while the textbook is being prepared. In a statement made on Wednesday, the NCERT stated that it was "too premature" to comment on the matter because it was still in the process of forming the curricular area groups that will be in charge of drafting the various textbooks.

“NCERT states that since the development of new syllabus and textbooks is in process, and for that purpose, various Curricular Area Groups of domain experts are being notified by the NCERT. So, it is too premature to comment on the news being reported in the media on this issue,” the Council shared on ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter).

When the government sent out a dinner invitation for the G20 Summit from the "President of Bharat," rather than the customary "President of India," it became apparent that there was a campaign underway to refer to India as Bharat. A political backlash resulted from this, with numerous opposition figures criticising the decision.

The NCERT has only established a 19-member committee to date to draft new textbooks and is in charge of coordinating "school syllabus, textbooks, teaching and learning materials" for grades 3 through 12.

Members include artist Shankar Mahadevan, philanthropist Sudha Murty, founder member of the RSS-affiliated Samskrita Bharati Chamu Krishna Shastry, Manjul Bhargava, the winner of the Fields Medal, and Chairman of PM Bibek Debroy's Economic Advisory Council.

Isaac continued by saying that the social science focus group had suggested that Indian victories play a big role in the curriculum. "We have proposed that historical events that occurred from 1947 until now should also be introduced, and the number of hours allocated for pre-independence can be reduced," he said. "At the moment, post-independence history is not mentioned in NCERT books."

Additionally, the Committee has proposed that "classical period of Indian history" be used in place of "ancient history." In order to teach students more about the nation's accomplishments, history, and culture, he also mentioned that the Committee has decided to include more information about the Indian Knowledge System in the curriculum.

In response to the revelation of one of the focus groups' ideas on India and Bharat, opposition party leaders claimed on Wednesday that the ruling BJP sought to change history and was taking such "desperate steps" in order to avoid defeat at the hands of the opposition coalition INDIA.

The name "India" evokes as much pride as "Bharat," according to Congress general secretary K. C. Venugopal, but the current administration intends "to indoctrinate an entire generation into hating a word we grew up feeling a lot of pride towards."

Rajyasabha MP of TMC Shantanu Sen said, “The Modi Government destroyed the education system of the country. They want to forget the history of Akbar, the history of Darwin theory, and the life of Iqbal who wrote Sare Jahan Se Achcha. They want only one party, one religion, one culture to exist in India.”

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