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Concerned Historians Respond to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education On History Textbooks

[We are publishing below the full response of Concerned Historians to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, regarding certain proposed changes.]

RESPONSE OF CONCERNED HISTORIANS On the

CALL FOR REVISIONS IN SCHOOL HISTORY BOOKS IN INDIA

To be shared with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education pertaining to school history books.

Date: 15th July 2021

We have recently learnt of representations being collected by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports with respect to:

a. Removing references to un-historical facts and distortions about our national heroes from the text books.

b. Ensuring equal or proportionate references to all periods of Indian history.

c. Highlighting the role of great historic women heroes, including Gargi, Maitreyi, or rulers like Rani of Jhansi, Rani Channamma, Chand Bibi, Zhalkari Bai etc. in school history books in India.

We place before the Committee certain observations and points of caution.

Textbook revisions: certain cautionary notes

It appears from the notification of the Parliamentary Standing Committee’s proceedings inviting responses that a consensus presumably exists on the presence of “distortions” in existing history school textbooks such as of the NCERT. On this point itself, we wish to draw the attention of the Hon’ble members to the fact that while scholarship grows and propels the corresponding need for periodic revision of textbooks; the use of the word “distortion”, as in this context, appears to be an unsubstantiated allegation that creates roadblocks for the initiation of a serious scholarly exercise. Opinions are being sought regarding “unhistorical facts and distortions about our national heroes” in the existing history textbooks without substantiation, which is unfortunate and also objectionable. 

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