Misleading textbooks fail to inculcate nationalism in students
The UPA has succeeded in persuading more state governments to accept the NCERT texts. A report on Monday (January 5, 2005) said 12 more state governments have accepted to teach NCERT texts in their schools.
Starting this week the Organiser is planning a series of articles on the NCERT textbooks prescribed for students at the primary, secondary and higher secondary schools. We have found these books written with a peculiar mindset, to denationalise and deculturise the young Indian. These books fail to make the children aware of their true heritage. These books seem to distort even India's freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi's role and try to divide the society into different caste and class segments. The idea is to convince the children that India as a nation came to exist only after August 15, 1947. We request the parents, teachers, students and scholars to join this academic exercise to expose the shenanigans behind promotion of these books in Indian schools. —Editor By Himanshu Shekhar Jha
What is most objectionable is the fact that while disusing the authorship of the Mahabharata the name of its sole and true writer Krishna Dwaipayana Vyas has not been mentioned even once. Instead of telling the students the universally accepted truth that the great saint and renowned scholar Krishna Dwaipayana Vyas has composed the excellent epic the Mahabharata, the NCERT textbook in so-called history misleads them by saying that it was written by charioteer-bards who composed poems celebrating victories and other achievements of the warriors.
The school children are being taught that the writing of the Mahabharata started only 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ and it took 1,000 years to complete it.
The NCERT Syllabi particularly those which are related to history and political theory taught in secondary schools in the country bear eloquent testimony to the fact that the UPA government is out to destroy Hindu dharma and culture. It was this government under whose patronage Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had inaugurated the Sethusamundram Ship Canal Project at Madurai in Tamil Nadu on July 2, 2005 which is posing a danger of the destruction of historical national monument—Ram Sethu—which had been constructed by Nala, the greatest architect of India in Treta Yuga at the command of Sri Rama while preparing to wage a war with Ravana to rescue Sita. Despite overwhelming evidences both historical and geographical the Expert Committee appointed by the UPA government recently said that Ram Sethu is not a national monument and virtually made no effective effort to bring it on the World Heritage List. This is only one instance from amongst the innumerable instances to prove the anti-Hindu and anti-dharma character of the government which is also reflected in its anti-national and perverted educational policy.
It was the same UPA that reportedly introduced sex education curriculum in schools against which several states had made strong protests stating that it contains obscene and objectionable contents which cannot be taught to pupils at schools.
Distortion of historical facts which relate to people’s religion and culture is not only immoral, but also impinges upon their basic right to freedom of faith, relief and conscience.
It is a universally accepted fact that the Holy Vedas are the first and the oldest scripture of the world. But according to the NCERT textbook titled Themes in Indian History, Part-1 the Vedas were written 1500 to 1000 years before the birth of Christ.
It has been clearly mentioned in the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata (C-339:105) that the Vedas were revealed by God in Satya Yuga. Satya Yuga preceded Treta in which Sri Ram was born and his famous Sethu connecting India with Sri Lanka was built up. According to the NASA shuttle Ram Sethu was built up around 1,750,000 years ago. It is, therefore, obvious that the Vedas must have been composed much earlier than what the NCERT historian falsely claims and propagates.
The brazen lie told about the Holy Vedas has been fabricated about the great epic the Mahabharata too. The school children are taught that the writing of the Mahabharata started only 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ and it took 1,000 years to complete it.
According to Vaishampayana who had narrated the story of the Mahabharata to the King Janmejaya, it had been written by the powerful, contented and foremost sage Srikrishna Dwaipayana Vyas within a period of three years. The relevant verse in the Mahabharata is as follows:-
Triveryvarsairalabdhakamah Krishan-dwaipayano Munih nityothithah Shuchih Shakto Mahabharatama ditah tapo niyamasthaya Kritametan-maharsina (Adi Parva 62: 41-42).
The NCERT textbook in history shows tendentious ignorance even regarding the number of verses in the Mahabharata. According to it initially this epic compressed about 10,000 verses only which subsequently swelled to 1,000,00 verses. It may be mentioned here that there are 18 divisions of the Mahabharata called Parvas and each Parva except Sauptika Parva, Stri Parva, Mahaprasthanika Parva and Swargarohan Parva—all Parvas contain more than 1,000 verses. The opening section called Adi Parva alone consists of 8,884 verses which counted with the verses of the next section come to 11,395 verses. In view of this fact, what could be the historical basis of stating that initially the Mahabharata had less than 10,000 verses? Even this wrong figure has not been given with certainty as is evident from the word ‘perhaps’ prefixed before it.
What is most objectionable is the fact that while disusing the authorship of the Mahabharata the name of its sole and true writer Krishna Dwaipayana Vyas has not been mentioned even once under the sub-title “Author(s) and Dates”. The word “Vyasa” appears only in the margin. Can there be anything more unlawful and unjust? Instead of telling the students the universally accepted truth that the great saint and renowned scholar Krishna Dwaipayana Vyas has composed the excellent epic the Mahabharata, the NCERT textbook in so-called history misleads them by saying that it was written by charioteer-bards who composed poems celebrating victories and other achievements of the warriors. It may be mentioned here that the bards were generally illiterate persons not well versed in scriptures. Ascribing authorship of the Mahabharata to these persons of little learning is highly derogatory and deserves condemnation.
The Manusmriti is not only the first and foremost book of Hindu law, but is held in high esteem throughout the world as a great scripture. It belongs to pre-historic period but according to the NCERT textbook it was compiled between 200 BCE and 200 CE. Can there be anything more misleading than this? The Manusmriti finds mention in the Gita, which was compiled more than 5000 years before. Even from this point of view the date of the origin of the Manusmriti given in the aforesaid textbook is palpably wrong and ought not to be believed.
The NCERT textbook in history has misinterpreted the word Chandala used in Manusmriti. A Chandala is the one who is extremely cruel by nature and habitually indulges in sinful acts. He, therefore, was required to live outside the village or town, use discarded utensils and don clothes of the dead and do such other degrading duties. Had the great sage Manu mandated the banishment of a Shudra from the village or town in the like manner as contemplated by the said textbook in Indian history, he could not have said the following:-
“Let the Shudra serve Brahmins alone for gaining heaven or for welfare both in this world and hereafter (Manusmriti 10: 122).
Even the celebrated western scholar Max Muller’s text on Manu has drawn a clear distinction between Shudra and Chandala.
We find a distortion of fact in respect of the Holy Puranas also. The NCERT textbook in question says that many stories in the Puranas were compiled by Brahmins by about the middle of the first millennium CE.
Even details given about Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir are not complete. There is no mention of the famous Eightfold Path carved out by Lord Buddha to bring all sufferings in life to an end. Even the sermon of Lord Mahavir lacks broad historical contours.
The writer of the NCERT textbook in history tries to create a wrong impression in the minds of school children that the whole of the famous book Arthashastra had not been written by Chanakya. The writer shows ignorance even about his name which is crystal clear from the following words:
“Another source that is often used is the Arthashastra, parts of which were probably composed by Kautilya or Chanakya traditionally believed to be the minister of Chandragupta.”
It is abundantly clear that the writer regards Kautilya and Chanakya as two different persons which is not correct. Both the names suggest one and the same persons, i.e. Chanakya. It is on record that Chanakya had written Arthashastra under the name “Kautilya” during 312-296 BC. The said textbook also misleads the students by telling that Chanakya was the minister of Chandragupta whereas the fact is that he was the Prime Minister of the Magadha Empire.
Even the NCERT book on Political Theory prescribed for secondary school students is not free from flaws. In a chapter on Freedom the said text while discussing ban on an objectionable book Ramayana Retold by Aubrey Menon it has been remarked: “Banning is an easy solution for the short term since it meets the immediate demands but it is very harmful for the long-term prospectus of freedom in a society because once one begins to ban then one develops a habit of banning.”
Such observation obviously leads one to infer that the condemnation of the holy book Ramayana ought not to be objected to and the ban should be lifted even if it hurts the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus all over the world.
Another objectionable matter in the said book relates to the issue of national language. Undoubtedly, Hindi should be the national language of our country. The excerpts given from Harijan Sevak in which Gandhi champions the cause of hybrid Hindustani in place of pure Hindi cannot be called commendable.
Inclusion of a passage from Ravindranath Tagore’s writing in the textbook on Political Science is equally objectionable because in it Tagore extols so-called humanity at the cost of patriotism. Tagore has, inter alia, written “Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter, my refuge is humanity.” He goes to the extent of comparing patriotism with ordinary glass and humanity with costly diamonds.
Instead of giving great moral lessons from immortal scriptures the NCERT textbooks teach students to respect a Constitution in whose schedule such evils as gambling, betting and intoxicating drinks have been included.
The sooner such reading materials related to history and social sciences are replaced by noble ideas the better it will be.
(The writer is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and can be contacted at A-207 Kalyani Apartments, Sector-6, Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.)