India now drops Gujarat riots, Mughal history from textbooks

In late April, chapters on the rise of Islamic empires in Afro-Asian territories, the chronicles of Mughal courts from the class XI-XII curricula

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File photo: A Hindu mob waving swords at during the Gujarat riots on March 1, 2002 AFP

Tribune Desk

June 17, 2022 5:22 PM

Contents on the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Mughal rule in India and the nationwide emergency imposed in 1975 are among the texts dropped by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, or NCERT, of India from its textbooks.

It comes nearly two months after India removed chapters on the rise of Islamic empires in Afro-Asian territories, the chronicles of Mughal courts, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Cold War era and the industrial revolution, from the class XI-XII curricula.

In a note released on Thursday, the NCERT said that the revision was part of “rationalistion of contents in textbooks”. Changes have been made to textbooks for Classes 6 to Classes 12.

A reference to the Gujarat riots  from the chapter “Recent Developments in Indian Politics” has been removed from Class 12 Political Science curriculum, according to the NCERT note.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the outbreak of violence, one of the worst since the country’s independence in 1947.

A senior police officer’s sworn statement to India’s Supreme Court in 2011 alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat, had deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state.

India has been grappling with protests — both at home and abroad — over derogatory remarks by two ruling party leaders. 

Some officials in India are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship in the country, a US official said earlier this month.

The report said attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, had occurred throughout last year in India. These included cow vigilantism – assaults on non-Hindus for allegedly slaughtering cows or trading in beef.   

“Gujarat riots show that the government machinery also becomes susceptible to sectarian passions,” a paragraph from the removed chapter stated, according to The Indian Express. “Instances, like in Gujarat, alert us to dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes. This poses a threat to democratic politics.”

An entire chapter titled “Kings and Chronicles: the Mughal Courts (C. Sixteen-Seventeenth Centuries)” has also been dropped from the Class 12 History syllabus.

From the Political Science textbook, one page on the history of the Naxal movement, and four pages on “Controversies regarding Emergency” have also been dropped, according to The Indian Express.

Other contents removed from the Class 12 syllabus include excerpts on the Cold War and “US Hegemony in World Politics”.

From the Class 11 history textbook, a chapter titled “Central Islamic lands” and another named “The Industrial Revolution” have been dropped.

In its note, the NCERT said that the changes were made due to the coronavirus pandemic and the National Education Policy 2020.

“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative to reduce content load on students,” it said. “The National Education Policy 2020, also emphasises reducing the content load and providing opportunities for experiential learning with creative mindset.”

The other reasons cited are overlapping with similar text, irrelevant content and difficulty level.


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