He was a freedom fighter and India’s first Education Minister, but any mention of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad has been deleted from a revised political science textbook published by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). The authors of the revised Class 11 textbook have also deleted the fact that Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India on the basis of a promise that the State would remain autonomous.

These are the latest in a spate of controversial deletions from new NCERT textbooks as part of the process of rationalising the syllabus. More glaring is the fact that NCERT failed to declare either of these revisions in the public domain.

Azad’s reference appeared in the old Class 11 NCERT political science textbook, Indian Constitution at Work in the first chapter, which is titled “Constitution — Why and How?” Last year, when the NCERT published a list of deletions in a list of rationalised content, it had declared that ‘no changes’ had been made in this particular textbook.

Azad omitted

In the older version of the textbook, a paragraph in the first chapter read, “The Constituent Assembly had eight major Committees on different subjects. Usually, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad or Ambedkar chaired these Committees. These were not men who agreed with each other on many things. Ambedkar had been a bitter critic of the Congress and Gandhi, accusing them of not doing enough for the upliftment of Scheduled Castes. Patel and Nehru disagreed on many issues. Nevertheless, they all worked together.”

On mapping the changes between the old and the revised version of the textbookThe Hindu found that Azad’s name had been dropped from the new version, with the relevant sentence now saying, “Usually, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel or B.R. Ambedkar chaired these Committees.”

On mapping the changes between the old and the revised version of Class 11 NCERT political science textbook, Indian Constitution at WorkThe Hindu found that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s name had been dropped from the new version. Photo:

Azad, however, had played a key role in 1946, when he led the Congress in the elections for the new Constituent Assembly of India, which would draft India’s Constitution. He had also headed the delegation to negotiate with the British Cabinet Mission, in his sixth year as Congress president…

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