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  India   All India  03 Jul 2017  New ICSSR chief says textbooks ‘creating activists, not educating’

New ICSSR chief says textbooks ‘creating activists, not educating’

Published : Jul 3, 2017, 1:56 am IST
Updated : Jul 3, 2017, 1:56 am IST

Mr Kumar also said “caste-based conflicts” and “intolerance” should not be seen as reflection of Indian society in its entirety.

(Representational image)
 (Representational image)

New Delhi: Textbooks today are aimed at creating “activists” and not educating students, the ICSSR’s newly-appointed chief, Braj Bihari Kumar, has said, and termed universities like JNU as a “nurturing ground” for them.

Mr Kumar, who took over as head of the apex body for promoting research in social sciences last month, also believes caste-based conflicts and intolerance are “fringe” phenomena and should not be seen as a reflection of Indian society as a whole.

“Textbooks are not meant for making students activists but for educating them. Unfortunately the books are driven by an agenda today and there is a need for a curriculum rehaul,” the 76-year-old former anthropologist, who once famously called Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “worst victim of intolerance”, said.

“Textbooks are in bad shape today. I had found a map in a social science textbook which showed Jammu and Kashmir out of India, there was another one not showing the Northeast area as a part of the country. There are several lapses in our textbooks,” Mr Kumar told PTI in an interview.

Mr Kumar, who used to used to edit a journal Dialogue before he joined the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), had written in an editorial in 2016 that “NCERT textbooks are driven by political agenda and are partly responsible for the increasing social conflicts and anarchical trends in society”.

“I had also written two letters to former HRD minister Smriti Irani pointing out the issue, but I did not get any response,” he said.

Mr Kumar lashed out at “JNU-like universities”, claiming, “several persons from a single family are massacred in Chhattisgarh and there is jubilation in JNU and a march in praise of the killers, much cannot be said about the kind of varsity that is.” He, however, did not elaborate.

He said though JNU projected itself as one of the best universities, “they can’t claim excellence when they are hurting nationalist sentiments and becoming a nurturing ground for activists and not a place for education. Taxpayers do not pay money for activist-making”.

Mr Kumar also said “caste-based conflicts” and “intolerance” should not be seen as reflection of Indian society in its entirety. “Caste-based conflicts, untouchability and intolerance are all fringe phenomena. They should not be treated as general phenomena and a reflection of Indian society,” he said.

Mr Kumar, who had in one of his editorials in Dialogue said that caste in its present form and intra-Hindu societal exploitation were “entirely non-Hindu factors” caused by “aggressive anti-Hindu agenda of conversion” by Muslim rulers, also said subjects like Hindu-Muslim riots and caste-based conflicts should not be part of the curriculum.

The ICSSR was established in 1969 by the Centre to promote research in the social sciences. It gives grants to institutions and scholars, and reviews the progress of social science research.

Tags: textbook, icssr, braj bihari kumar