Kerala schools to continue teaching Babri Masjid portions deleted by NCERT

State minister says textbooks should not contain narrow ideological positions or propaganda of any movement

Babri Masjid being pulled down in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 (file photo)
Babri Masjid being pulled down in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 (file photo)

NH Digital

Schools in Kerala will continue teaching portions about the demolition of the Babri Masjid that have been deleted from the National Council of Educational Research and Training’s (NCERT) political science textbook, the Manorama has quoted the state’s general education minister V. Sivankutty as saying on Tuesday.

The autonomous body’s updated class 12 political science textbook does not mention Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid by name, referring to the mosque as a “three-dome structure [that] was built at the site of Shri Ram’s birthplace” by Mughal emperor Babur’s general Mir Baqi in the 16th century.

On Tuesday itself, Sivankutty criticised the controversial modifications and said textbooks should not contain narrow ideological positions or propaganda of any movement. He said the state does not accept the changes made in various portions, including with regard to Babri Masjid demolition and Ayodhya, by the NCERT.

In a statement, the minister also said children should be taught real history and science, and Kerala has always upheld and implemented this stand. "Textbooks should not comprise narrow ideological positions or propaganda of any movement," he said.

Sivankutty recalled earlier controversial changes made by the NCERT in some of its textbooks, and how the state government had brought out parallel textbooks incorporating portions omitted by it.

He said the government had prepared parallel textbooks on the basis of the belief that education should be shaped according to Kerala's cultural heritage, secular approach, and progressive mindset.

Those textbooks, brought out by the state, reflected the socio-cultural features of the country and the state and were in adherence with the nation's constitutional values, he said.

The minister also pointed out that the unique intervention made by Kerala in the education sector was a source of optimism for the secular society in the country.

On Monday, state local self-government department minister M.B. Rajesh also termed the NCERT's modifications a move to communalise all systems of the government and said there was a need to continue the collective fight against such attempts.

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

He had also said the tweaks in textbooks are part of annual revision and should not be a subject of a hue and cry. "Why should we teach about riots in school textbooks? We want to create positive citizens, not violent and depressed individuals," he had said.

The comments by Saklani come at a time when new textbooks have hit the market with several deletions and changes. It has pruned the Ayodhya section from four to two pages and deleted details from the earlier version.

With inputs from PTI

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