?The communist parties, working through their points-man in the UPA government, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, are out to legitimise their perverse and anti-national interpretation of history by changing the NCERT textbooks,? said the resolution of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (SBAS), which was adopted unanimously at a panel discussion on ´Changing NCERT Textbooks: The Issues at Stake? held in the capital'sprestigious Constitution Club on July 24. ?This is an insidious attempt to pollute the minds of the country'snew generation and it will be resisted through a nation-wide, democratic movement involving people of all sections of society,? the resolution added.
Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (SBAS) is a forum of intellectuals, teachers and activists committed to fighting the attempts to legitimise the communist perspective of Indian history by bringing back the old NCERT books that were replaced under NDA rule. It was formed at a meeting held on July 2, 2004. The panel discussion was part of a series of awareness-generation programmes. Within three weeks, SBAS has captured the imagination of nationalist-minded Indians. It has organised public rallies involving teachers and parents. Memoranda have been submitted to the Prime Minister and Minister of Human Resource Development, highlighting the grave dangers posed to national unity and collective self-esteem by the communist conspiracy to harm the motherland'simage. According to Shri Dinanath Batra, convenor of SBAS, ?The movement will tap the synergies of nationalist Indians drawn from all streams.?
The panel discussion assumed particular significance because it brought together senior journalists and columnists who share a common passion: history. Prof. J. S. Rajput, who retired on July 13 as Director of NCERT, selected the occasion for breaking his silence on all the steps taken by the communists to defame India'simage since the UPA was sworn in. Shri Chandan Mitra, Rajya Sabha MP and editor, The Pioneer, Shri Dina Nath Mishra, former MP and founder-president, India First Foundation, Shri Swapan Dasgupta, noted journalist and Smt. Sandhya Jain, noted columnist were the other speakers. Shri Udayan Namboodiri, senior editor, The Pioneer, and SBAS activist, chaired the panel.
Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti organised a panel discussion.
Prof. Rajput defended the NCERT books that have been maligned by the communists for carrying ´toxic? and ´communal? passages. He said that the books have received unprecedented acceptance even in Congress-ruled states, whose governments had used the NCERT'scurriculum framework to redesign their own school regimes. ?The present government has gone berserk. Goaded by the communists it found communalism in even ancient books like the Thirrukural and Vedanta. A book commissioned by me, chronicling the contribution made to the freedom struggle by school teachers was also banned. This sort of thing only breeds confusion and spreads the seeds of suspicion among communities.?
Shri Mitra, who himself started life as a teacher of history in Delhi University, said:
?According to the communist version of Indian history, we have always been a disintegrated country. They have a hidden agenda and we have to be very careful about that. They are telling the people that they should not take pride in our great history and that the golden era of our civilisation was a myth. In their zeal they have even removed the mention of several freedom fighters from history,? he pointed out.
Shri Dasupta, who holds a Ph.D. in modern history from London University, spoke of the value of smriti in history. ?The significance of collective memory should not be diluted when considering sources. In our ancient land, many historical incidents have not been properly recorded, but their full story exists in the collective memory. The communists discount their importance as ´myths?. But when archaeologists go to verify them, the credibility of public memory is inevitably established.?
Shri Mishra recounted the glorious scientific and philosophical contributions made by India since ancient times to the development of human civilisation. ?The children of India must be informed of the achievements of their forebears and this will lead them to taking pride in their nationhood,? he said. The erudite scholar and former editor of Panchajanya said that a movement should be launched to expose the communist conspiracy.
Smt. Jain, who has written many articles on the history ´controversy? over the past few years, said that the communists have downgraded the quality of history scholarship in India. ?Educationists abroad are shocked that the NCERT could publish such low-quality books, full of erroneous facts and jaundiced interpretation for three decades before the NDA government changed them. And now the same lot of discredited people have been given a free run of the place,? she added.
In his interventions, Shri Namboodiri highlighted various aspects of the hypocrisy of communist historians. He pointed out the similarity between the present situation when all ´non-believers? are being persecuted with the experience of the Emergency era. ?Not a single substantial mistake could be identified by the HRD minister'spanel of historians in the NCERT books, yet the books were banned in a most high-handed manner. One of the historians on the panel did not even care to read Meenakshi Jain'sbook on Medieval India and just dismissed it. How can anybody accept such a dictatorial attitude?? he asked.