Thiruvananthapuram | Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has declined the Kerala Government's demand to reconsider the recent recommendation of an NCERT panel to substitute the term 'India' with 'Bharat' in school textbooks, according to state government sources here on Friday.
Pradhan said that the Constitution recognises both names, the sources said. The union minister affirmed the stance of the central government regarding the issue in his response to a letter from Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty.
Defending the suggestion put forth by the NCERT-appointed Sociology Committee to change the name of the country in social science textbooks, Pradhan said that the autonomous body considers both 'India' and 'Bharat' as acceptable and does not favour one over the other.
In his letter to Sivankutty, Pradhan noted that the Article 1 of the Constitution of India states that "India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States." "India's Constitution recognises both 'India' and 'Bharat' as the official names of the country which can be used interchangeably. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) duly acknowledges this spirit as enshrined in our Constitution and does not differentiate between the two," the Union Education Minister said in the letter.
In October last year, Sivankutty had sent emails to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pradhan, requesting their intervention in the matter.
In these letters, the Kerala minister had emphasised the importance of maintaining the existing practice for the benefit of the educational system and the nation's unity, which is rooted in its diverse cultural heritage.
Sivankutty had pointed out that for generations, students have learned about the country's rich past, history, and heritage under the name 'India.' He had added that any change in this nomenclature would lead to confusion and disrupt the continuity of the educational system.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also categorically made it clear that the NCERT panel's recommendation cannot be accepted.
Urging all citizens to unite and safeguard the essence of India, he had said that the present recommendation could be seen only as a continuation of the recent arbitrary exclusion of portions including Mughal history and the banning of the RSS following Gandhi's assassination from textbooks.
The politics behind the move are as clear as day, the CM had said.