In a letter to NCERT Director Dinesh Prasad Skalani, 33 academics, who were members of the Textbook Development Committee in 2006-2007 when the political science textbooks (currently used in schools) were drafted, expressed that the recent rationalization exercise showcased their “creative collective effort at risk.

“Since there have been many substantive revisions of the original texts, thus making them different books, we find it difficult to claim that these are the books we produced and to associate our names with them,” the letter read Wednesday.

The 33 academics (See the full list at the end) including Kanti Prasad Bajpai, a former professor at JNU who is currently the Vice Dean at the National University of Singapore; Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Former Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University; Rajiv Bhargava, former Director of CSDS; Neeraja Gopal Jayal, former professor at the University of New Jersey. Nivedita Menon is a professor at the University of New Jersey. Vipul Mudgal, President, Common Cause; KC Suri, former professor at the University of Hyderabad now associated with Geetam University; and Peter Ronald D’Souza, former director of the Indian Institute for Advanced Study.

Their letter comes within a week of Yadav and Palshekar’s first letter to NCERT in which they expressed their inability to define any educational logic for the process of rationalizing textbooks and expressed their embarrassment at being associated with “academically distorted and dysfunctional” books.

In response, NCERT issued a public statement on 9 June highlighting that the textbook development committees — of which Yadav and Balshekar were members — ceased to exist once the books were published. She said the copyright of the educational materials has since remained with NCERT, regardless of the committee.

The rationalization process in question was carried out by the Council last year, which is subsequently reflected in the textbooks that have been reprinted this year. This exercise involved dropping several chapters, paragraphs, and even sentences from textbooks across school subjects, under the pretext of curtailing curricula to help students recover from learning disorders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

conducted an investigation Indian Express He revealed that as part of the rationalization process, the board had removed references to the 2002 Gujarat riots, passages discussing the brutal effects of the state of emergency on people and institutions, as well as chapters on protests and social movements, including those led by Narmada Bachau. Andolan and Dalit Panthers and BJP Kisan are books on political science.

In their letter, the 33 academics emphasized that the textbooks were the result of extensive deliberations and collaborations among political scientists of various ideological viewpoints and backgrounds, and were originally intended to impart knowledge about India’s freedom struggle, constitutional framework, workings of democracy, and the key. Aspects of Indian Politics, incorporating global developments and theoretical principles of political science. “We now believe this creative team effort is in jeopardy,” they wrote.

When questioning NCERT’s defense of revisions under intellectual property rights, they argued that while NCERT has the right to publish textbooks as they were originally produced, “but it is not at liberty to make substantive changes, minor or major, and then claim that they remain the same set of contributors.” The senior advisors are responsible for the revised text as it is now.”

The letter ends with a request to delete their names as members of the Truth and Dignity Commission from the books of the political scene.

Below is the text of the letter, along with a list of all 33 signatories:

June 14, 2023

Dear Prof. Dinesh Prasad Skalani,
We have followed with increasing concern, and growing concern, the public discussion about NCERT’s unilateral attempts to modify and revise textbooks that have been collaboratively produced by scholars from across the country. We, the undersigned, have participated in these efforts to produce political science textbooks. Through these textbooks, we hoped to explain to schoolchildren the ideals of our struggle for freedom, the aspirations of the Constituent Assembly, the principles of our constitutional system, the role of leaders and movements, the nature of our federal system, and the promising and dynamic qualities of our nation. Our Democratic Republic, Key Episodes of Contemporary Politics in India, Global Developments and Theoretical Principles of Political Science in this Uniquely Indian Context.

The political scientists who have contributed to this effort have come from multiple perspectives and have held diverse ideological positions. Nevertheless, we have been able to work together to produce what is, by any measure, a truly remarkable collection of political science textbooks. The pedagogical strategy adopted, over a period of several months, was collectively discussed and agreed upon.
We now believe that this creative collective effort is in jeopardy.

NCERT is now making changes to the textbooks. This includes omitting sentences and removing some sections (even chapters) deemed unacceptable while emphasizing others deemed desirable. The decision of who decides what is unacceptable and what is desirable has been kept somewhat opaque, violating basic principles of transparency and discord that we believe underlie the production of academic knowledge.

In this regard, we would like to mention the following:
1. The political science books were produced after extensive deliberations on substantive and educational issues between contributors and senior advisors.
2. Political scientists from colleges, universities and schools from all over India have accepted this responsibility in producing a range of attractive and accessible textbooks for school students in the discipline of Political Science. Much professional time has been devoted to this goal.
3. The draft texts prepared were sent to the senior advisors who, after revision, forwarded them to the contributors to consider suggestions and make revisions if they felt necessary. This advisory protocol was at the heart of the process because it emphasized the academic independence and freedom of the scholars who participated.
4. In addition to the issues raised regarding (1) academic freedom, (2) educational integrity, and (3) institutional suitability, we also ask for your clarification on the issue of the intellectual property rights you claim to defend in your reviews. You say that NCERT has the intellectual property rights over the textbooks. We accept this. It can publish textbooks as they have been produced under the guidance of senior advisors in as many copies and editions as they wish. But it is not free to make substantial changes, minor or major, and then claim that the same group of contributors and senior advisors are still responsible for the revised text as it is now.

In addition to the dangers of revisions in changing the meaning and saying the opposite of what the contributors intended, is the principle of consulting them about the changes to be made, or at least consulting the senior advisors who led this collective effort, and obtaining their approval. Since there have been many substantive revisions of the original texts, making them different books, we find it difficult to claim that these are the books we produced and to associate our names with them.

With much regret at this turn of events, we therefore ask you to delete our names, as members of the Textbook Development Committee, from the NCERT Political Science textbooks.

best wishes,

1. Muzaffar Al-Asadi, Dean of the College of Arts and Professor of Mysore University
2. Kanti Prasad Bajpai, National University, Singapore
3. Sabyasachi Basu Rai Chowdhury, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata
4. Rajiv Bhargava, Hon Fellow, CSDS, Delhi
5. Dwaipayan Bhattacharya, CPS, JNU, New Delhi
6. Navneta Chadha Pehera, University of Delhi
7. Lagwanti Chatani, MS University, Baroda
8. Rajeshwari Deshpande, Savitribai Phule University Pune, Pune
9. Peter Ronald D’Souza, Former Director, Indian Institute for Advanced Studies, Shimla.
10. Rajesh Dev, University of Delhi
11. Akhil Ranjan Dutta, Guwahati University, Guwahati
12. Alex M. George, Independent Researcher, Kerala
13. Malini Ghose, Nirantar, Center for Gender and Education, New Delhi
14. Neeraja Gopal Jayal, Former Professor, Center for Law and Governance, University of New Delhi, New Delhi
15. Manish Jain, School of Education Studies, Dr. BR Ambedkar University, Delhi
16. Shefali Jha, CPS, JNU, New Delhi
17. Kailash KK, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
18. Manjari Katju, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
19. Shailendra Kharat, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune
20. Sanjay Lodha, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Governance and Social Sciences, Jaipur
21. Siddharth Malavarapu, Shiv Nadar University, Noida
22. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, CPR, New Delhi
23. Nivedita Menon, JNU, New Delhi
24. Radhika Menon, Department of Education, Mata Sundari College, University. Delhi
25. Sanjib Mukherjee, University of Calcutta, Kolkata
26. Vipul Mudgal, Common Cause, New Delhi
27. Sajal Ng, University of Assam, Silchar
28. Aditya Nigam, Former Professor, CSDS, Delhi
29. Priavadhan Patil, Former MS Professor, University of Baroda
30. Chitra Redkar, IISER, Pune
31. Sandeep Shastri, Academic Director, NITTE, Bengaluru
32. Ujjwal Kumar Singh, University of Delhi
33. KC Suri, Distinguished Professor, GITAM (considered university), Visakhapatnam


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