Yogendra Yadav, Suhas Palshikar object to their names being retained in new NCERT textbooks

Activist Yogendra Yadav flashes his ink-marked finger after casting his vote for the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi, Saturday, May 25, 2024.
Activist Yogendra Yadav flashes his ink-marked finger after casting his vote for the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi, Saturday, May 25, 2024.

New Delhi | Political scientists Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar on Monday wrote to NCERT objecting to new textbooks carrying their names even after they had disassociated themselves from the revisions and said they will be forced to take legal recourse if these books with their names are not withdrawn immediately.

In their letter, Palshikar and Yadav said they do not want the NCERT to "hide" behind their names to pass on to students such textbooks of political science that are "politically biased, academically indefensible and pedagogically dysfunctional".

Palshikar and Yadav, who were chief advisors for political science textbooks, had last year said that the rationalisation exercise has "mutilated" the books beyond recognition and rendered them "academically dysfunctional" and demanded that their names be dropped from the books.

They had stated that the textbooks which were a source of pride for them earlier have now become a source of embarrassment.

The revised version of the textbooks, which recently hit the market, still identify them as chief advisors.

"Besides the earlier practice of selective deletions, the NCERT has resorted to significant additions and rewriting that are out of sync with the spirit of the original textbooks… the NCERT has no moral or legal right to distort these textbooks without consulting any of us and yet publish these under our names despite our explicit refusal," the letter said.

"There can be arguments and debates about someone’s claims to authorship of any given work. But it is bizarre that authors and editors are forced to associate their names with a work they no longer identify as their own," it added.

The NCERT is once again at the centre of 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 letter by Palshikar and Yadav said, "Both of us do not want the NCERT to hide behind our names to pass on to students such textbooks of political science that we find politically biased, academically indefensible and pedagogically dysfunctional.

"The new editions of these books that have been published with our names should be withdrawn from the market forthwith… If the NCERT fails to take immediate corrective action, we may be forced to take legal recourse," the letter said.

Rejecting accusations of saffronisation of the school curriculum, NCERT's director has said that references to Gujarat riots and Babri masjid demolition were modified in school textbooks because teaching about riots "can create violent and depressed citizens."

In an interaction with PTI editors at the agency's headquarters here on Saturday, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) director Dinesh Prasad Saklani said the tweaks in textbooks are part of annual revision and should not be a subject of hue and cry.

When Yadav and Palshikar had first disassociated with the textbook, the NCERT had emphasised its right to make changes based on copyright ownership and stated that the "withdrawal of association by any one member is out of the question", given that the textbooks are the product of a collective effort.

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