The chairperson of a high-level committee for social sciences, CI Issac, which was formed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to revise the school curriculum in India, has recommended some significant changes in textbooks
Replace ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’
The committee has recommended using the name ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’ in textbooks. This suggestion is based on the fact that ‘Bharat’ is an ancient name, dating back thousands of years and is mentioned in texts like the Vishnu Purana. In contrast, the term ‘India’ became common only after the establishment of the East India Company and the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
The proposal to use ‘Bharat’ in textbooks is not an attempt to rewrite history but to revive the ancient name, which encapsulates the nation’s intrinsic identity. It recognizes that the usage of ‘India’ has colonial roots and predominantly emerged during the era of British colonial rule. The term ‘India’ primarily owes its prevalence to the British East India Company’s expansion, which began in the early 17th century and gained momentum after the decisive Battle of Plassey in 1757. Consequently, ‘India’ became a reference to the subcontinent under British colonial administration.
Introduce ‘Classical History’
The committee has also recommended replacing ‘ancient history’ with ‘classical history’ in the curriculum. This change aims to provide a more accurate and culturally significant representation of historical periods.
These recommendations have been included in the final position paper on social sciences produced by the committee. This paper serves as a fundamental reference document for the development of new NCERT textbooks. The proposal is based on the belief that these changes will help connect students to their cultural and historical heritage.
In a notable recommendation, a committee has proposed the use of the term ‘Bharat’ in textbooks instead of ‘India.’ This suggestion is not merely linguistic but rooted in historical and cultural significance. It stems from the recognition that ‘Bharat’ carries a rich heritage dating back thousands of years, deeply ingrained in the nation’s identity. In contrast, the term ‘India’ gained prevalence relatively recently, coinciding with the rise of the East India Company and the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
- ‘Bharat,’ as a name for the Indian subcontinent, finds its origins in ancient Indian texts, particularly the Vishnu Purana, a foundational work in Hindu mythology and philosophy.
- The use of ‘Bharat’ to refer to the land and its people has been a constant thread throughout India’s history, reflecting its cultural, spiritual, and geographical essence.
- The term ‘Bharat’ encompasses a profound cultural resonance. It refers to a land that witnessed the birth and propagation of several major world religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It is the land of the Vedas, Upanishads, and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. ‘Bharat’ carries within it the vibrant tapestry of diverse languages, traditions, and a long history of social and philosophical thought.
- The transition from ‘Bharat’ to ‘India’ was not an organic evolution; it was imposed by colonial rule and reflected a specific period in the nation’s history. The term ‘India’ symbolizes a chapter of foreign dominance and exploitation. While it is a historical fact, there is a growing sentiment in contemporary India to restore the use of ‘Bharat’ to emphasize the continuity of its rich cultural and historical legacy.
- The committee’s recommendation aligns with a broader cultural and national identity movement seeking to rediscover and celebrate India’s heritage and traditional values. Using ‘Bharat’ is seen as a reclamation of this heritage and a departure from the colonial vestiges. It symbolizes a return to the ancient roots of the nation, evoking the imagery of a diverse and culturally rich land.