Prof. Makkhan Lal speaking at a seminar in Visakhapatnam
In its response to the petition filed by Shri Dinanath Batra and others of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti before the Delhi High Court, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has clarified in the court that out of the total 70 objectionable passages, mentioned by the petitioner in his petition, 37 have been replaced in accordance with the new curricula. The counsel said the discussion over the deletion or modification of four other passages was going on. He however added that no change was required in respect of the other 29 passages. The court has directed the NCERT to identity the 37 replaced passages in an affidavit. Next hearing of the case will be held on July 26.
This development followed the comments of a three-member committee comprising professors of history, J.S. Grewal, K.N. Panikar and Nayanjyot Lahiri. While these experts have upheld views in respect to certain historical precedents, they have not shied away from doing away with certain portions. For example, on the objection raised over a paragraph mentioning beef eating in a class VI history textbook Ancient India, authored by Romila Thapar, the experts have upheld the practice of beef eating to be widely prevalent in early India.
In response to another objection raised over the ?homeland of Aryans? raised in a textbook, authored by R.S. Sharma, the experts are of the view that the homeland of the Aryans was a very ?vexed question?. ?Considering that this is a highly politicised and controversial question, it would be desirable for textbooks to make this evident,? the committee noted. Of certain passages that shall face deletion, one of the paragraph figures in class XII textbook, Modern India by Bipan Chandra. In a reference to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, it was mentioned in one of the paragraphs, ?While a devout Sikh, he (Ranjit Singh) was known to step down from his throne to wipe out the dust of Muslim mendicants with his long gray beard.? Following a note by NCERT, this quotation shall now be deleted from the 2006 edition.