The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in a significant move, has proposed the replacement of the term ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in school textbooks, according to CI Isaac, the chairperson of the social sciences panel. The unanimous recommendation by the seven-member committee is outlined in the final position paper on social sciences. Isaac highlighted that the term ‘India’ gained prominence after the establishment of the East India Company in 1757, whereas ‘Bharat’ has historical roots dating back over 5,000 years.
The proposal aligns with Article 1(1) of the Indian Constitution, affirming, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” This move follows recent instances where the Indian government emphasized ‘Bharat,’ including official invitations for the G20 presidential dinner and the nameplate in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 heads of states’ meeting.
The NCERT panel recommended the incorporation of the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) across subjects and suggested replacing ‘ancient history’ with ‘classical history’ in textbooks. This revision aims to rectify the colonial-era division of Indian history into ancient, medieval, and modern periods, which inaccurately portrayed ancient India as a period of darkness. Isaac emphasized the importance of teaching the classical period alongside medieval and modern history, providing a more comprehensive understanding of India’s rich heritage and scientific advancements.
The proposal signifies a concerted effort to promote a sense of cultural identity and historical accuracy among students, fostering a deeper connection with the nation’s heritage. As the educational landscape evolves, these changes are poised to reshape the way Indian history and identity are taught in schools across the country.