‘Confusing, disrespectful’, opposition on India-Bharat name change in NCERT textbooks

NCERT Textbooks: NCERT told ANI that the books’ redesign were ‘in process’ and that commenting on them is ‘premature’.

‘Confusing, disrespectful’, opposition on India-Bharat name change in NCERT textbooks NCERT Textbooks: A panel had suggested India-Bharat name change in school textbooks (Representational Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Atul Krishna | Oct 25, 2023 - 5:31 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Opposition leaders have criticised the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) panel’s suggestion on renaming India to Bharat in school textbooks.

Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar said that the ruling government is “confusing” Indians and that this recommendation is “anti-people, anti-India, and anti-Bharat”. Shivakumar also said that the Government of Karnataka will continue with what is already in the textbooks.

“Why are we saying the Reserve Bank of India, Indian Administrative Service and Indian Foreign Service? In our passports, we have the Republic of India... I think something wrong has happened to this government... Why are they confusing the minds of Indians?... Whatever stand they have taken is completely anti-people, anti-India, and anti-Bharat... I am telling you they (NCERT) have been forced by the NDA government,” Shivakumar told Asian News International (ANI).

The focus group for revising the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks for social science has recommended that ‘Bharat’ be used instead of India in textbooks from Class 5 to Class 12. The panel has also recommended renaming ‘ancient Indian history’ to ‘classical Indian history’ in the textbooks.

Congress leader Jignesh Mevani, who is a member of legislative assembly from Gujarat, called the recommendation disrespectful towards the Indian Constitution. “It is a disrespect towards the Indian Constitution in which 'India, that is, Bharat' is written. So, both words can be used interchangeably,” said Mevani to Press Trust of India.

Issue with ‘INDIA’ alliance

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said to ANI: "They are suggesting so many things. You can see how they are distorting the history of India through the textbook, syllabus, and everything.”

AAP Spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar said that the recommendation is a result of prime minister Narendra Modi’s “issue with India” after the opposition came under the umbrella of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) in the run up to the national elections in 2024.

"We don't have an issue with either Bharat or India, I'm telling you that PM Modi has an issue with India and that happened only after the INDIA alliance was formed. In our constitution, both India and Bharat are used and both should be used," said Kakkar.

However, NCERT said that the development of textbooks “is in process” and that commenting on the news is too “premature”.

“On media reports about changing the name of India to Bharat in all NCERT textbooks, NCERT says that since the development of new syllabus and textbooks is in the process and for that purpose various Curricular Area Groups of domain experts are being notified by the NCERT. So, it is too premature to comment on the news being flashed in the media on the concerned issue.” NCERT told ANI.

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