'Bharat', 'India' to be used interchangeably in textbooks, debate over it useless: NCERT chief

National Council of Educational Research and Training Director Dinesh Prasad Saklani
National Council of Educational Research and Training Director Dinesh Prasad Saklani

New Delhi | "Bharat" and "India" will be used interchangeably in NCERT textbooks as is the case in the country's Constitution, National Council of Educational Research and Training Director Dinesh Prasad Saklani has said.

The comments assume significance in the wake of a high-level panel working on the social science curriculum recommending that "India" should be replaced with "Bharat" in school textbooks for all classes.

In an interaction with PTI editors at the agency's headquarters here, the NCERT chief said both the words will be used in the books and the council has no aversion to either "Bharat" or "India".

"It is interchangeable....our position is what our Constitution says and we uphold that. We can use Bharat, we can use India, what is the problem? We are not in that debate. Wherever it suits we will use India, wherever it suits we will use Bharat. We have no aversion to either India or Bharat," he said.

"You can see both being used in our textbooks already and that will continue in new textbooks. This is a useless debate," Saklani said.

A high-level committee for social sciences, constituted by the NCERT to revise the school curriculum, had last year recommended that "India" should be replaced with "Bharat" in the textbooks for all classes.

Committee chairperson C I Isaac, who was heading the panel, had said they have suggested replacing the name "India" with "Bharat" in the textbooks, introducing "classical history", instead of "ancient history" in the curriculum, and including the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) in the syllabus for all subjects.

"The committee has unanimously recommended that the name Bharat should be used in the textbooks for students across classes. Bharat is an age-old name. The name Bharat has been used in ancient texts, such as Vishnu Purana, which is 7,000 years old," Isaac had told PTI.

The NCERT had then said that no decision has been taken on panel's recommendations.

The name Bharat first appeared officially last year when the government sent out G20 invites in the name of "President of Bharat", instead of "President of India".

Later, the nameplate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the summit in New Delhi also read "Bharat", instead of India.

The NCERT is once again at the centre of a controversy with the revised Class 12 political science textbook not mentioning the Babri masjid but referring to it as a "three-domed structure".

The latest deletions in the textbooks include: BJP's 'rath yatra' from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya; the role of kar sevaks; communal violence in the wake of the demolition of the Babri masjid; President's rule in BJP-ruled states; and the BJP's expression of "regret over the happenings at Ayodhya".

The new political science textbook of Class 11, now says that political parties "give priority to the interests of a minority group" with an eye on "vote bank politics", which leads to "minority appeasement".

This marks a complete shift from what was taught until the 2023-24 academic session -- that if students "think hard", they will find there is "little evidence" to suggest that vote bank politics favours the minorities in the country.

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