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NCERT Panel Chief Defends “Bharat-India” Proposal Amidst Political Controversy

Amidst the ongoing political controversy surrounding the proposal to refer to India as "Bharat" in NCERT textbooks, the chairman of the committee behind the recommendation clarified that the change was specifically intended for CBSE students within classrooms.

By: Rekha Joshi  Pardaphash Group
NCERT Panel Chief Defends “Bharat-India” Proposal Amidst Political Controversy

Amidst growing political controversy surrounding the proposal to use “Bharat” instead of “India” in NCERT textbooks, the individual behind the recommendation, retired Professor CI Issacs, clarified that this change was intended specifically for students of CBSE in classrooms, allowing flexibility for individuals to use either term at home.

Professor Issacs leads the Committee for Social Sciences, which introduced the suggestion that has sparked significant debate. In response to the Opposition’s criticism, the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) clarified that no final decision had been made regarding the recommendations. These recommendations were in line with the effort to update the curriculum in accordance with the National Education Policy 2020.

When asked about the necessity for this change, Professor Issacs emphasized that it wasn’t about “removing” anything. He explained that the current mindset is influenced by colonial education, and a new education system is being introduced, reflecting a fresh chapter. He cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for an overhaul of the country’s education policy as a driving force for change. Professor Issacs also noted that this change had the support of various academics who were not part of the committee.

Describing the change as “essential,” he highlighted that the proposal is focused on teachers and not intended to be politically motivated. He mentioned that teachers themselves were products of colonial education and often use the term “India.” The change, according to Professor Issacs, could be implemented in the textbooks for senior classes, beginning with Class 8.

He pointed out that “India” and “Bharat” are both mentioned in the first article of the Constitution, but the rule is applicable only to CBSE students, not to everyone.

Opponents have raised concerns about potential political influence and indoctrination in education. Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Jha, for instance, expressed skepticism about altering historical terminology and cited Article 1 of the Constitution. Congress’s DK Shivakumar voiced strong objections to the proposal, calling it “anti-people” and “anti-India.”

The controversy surrounding “Bharat” and “India” initially arose when the government used “Bharat” in G20 invites for the “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India.” This debate gained further attention when PM Modi’s nameplate at the G20 summit was labeled “Bharat” instead of “India.”

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