The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has dropped three chapters from its Class 9 history textbook, including one that illustrates caste conflict.
The chapters apparently depicted caste conflict through the struggles of the so-called ‘lower caste’ Nadar women of Travancore, who were forced to keep their upper bodies uncovered.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has instructed NCERT to delete three chapters (70 pages) from the Class 9 History Text Book titled ‘India and Contemporary World – I.’
The initiative was done to decrease the burden on students. This is the second review of a textbook under the respective government. The changes will be implemented before the start of the next academic year. It is to be noted that NCERT has already made around 1334 changes in 182 books in the year 2017 in the best interest of the students.
The present initiative that dealt with the deletion of the three chapters is as follows:
The last chapter of the book named Clothing: A Social History. It emphasised on how the changes in clothing in India, as well as England, were influenced by social movements. A separate section named Caste conflict and dress change concerning food and dress habits in India made major sensational news in 2016 when many politicians voiced their dissent referring it’s as an Upper Cloth Revolt.
The other part of this section to be deleted was the section on Shanars known as Nadars. They were considered as inferior in front of the Nairs from Travancore, not allowing them to use umbrellas, shoes, gold ornaments and they have to uncover their upper bodies.The influence of the Swadeshi Movement by Mahatma Gandhi on the clothing aspects also was a part of the deletion
The chapter on ‘Peasants and Farmers’ which showed light on wheat farmers of the USA, small cottages in England and opium producers of Bengal. It depicted the integration of rural communities in the modern agricultural era and its impact on a relationship with the capitalist world market. The Chapter on ‘History and Sport: The Story of Cricket’ was also deleted as it elaborated on the connection of caste and religious aspects with respect to the history of cricket in India.
Senapaty, NCERT Director has still not commented on this issue, but Javadekar’s initiative to reduce the contents in the books by 20% was a major decision based on the feedback from the parents, teachers as well as students. A poem by Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also included in the Class 8 textbooks to recognise his contributions and achievements.