As part of its response to the pandemic, the CBSE has announced that it will be removing portions of the curriculum from our course. These cuts varied in width and depth, and there was a universal curtailment of the curriculum for virtually all subjects; with the exception of political science. After the first round of cuts, the CBSE announced a second round of changes to the political science curriculum, which included additions to the curriculum. Therefore, as I was preparing for my first grade 12 political science pre-boarding exam, I had to read the modified curriculum published by the CBSE and had to skip the existing pages of my textbook. While reading this new content, I couldn’t help but make some observations.
Before continuing, it is important to discuss the nature of the CBSE political science textbooks currently prescribed for Grades 11 and 12. The content of the manual is generally presented in two ways, depending on its type.
When the book seeks to explain and describe various historical events, it takes a narrative tone and describes these events in a relatively easy-to-understand manner, while also highlighting possible causes and their consequences. This process often takes place over several paragraphs, in which logical links are spoken, which ultimately feeds into a larger idea. This is the only part of the manual that includes obvious decrees and explicit approvals of particular ideas. However, these decrees are fairly uncontroversial / harmless and manifested in statements such as “The emergency has been detrimental to Indian democracy”, “The Sino-Indian war has been detrimental to the territorial integrity of India” and “Sri Lankan Tamil extremists like the LTTE are not pretty people.
The remainder of the manual deals with dissecting contemporary political issues and the debate around them. The clearest example is the chapter on globalization, by the reader Contemporary Global Politics. The manual realizes that globalization is a controversial issue, which has not found easy solutions. She therefore hesitates to present globalization as an issue on which consensus has been reached. Instead, having defined globalization as an economic, political and cultural concept, the book explains the different attitudes towards it, and its advantages and disadvantages perceived by the political left and right. He ends the section by describing a point of view that reconciles the positives of globalizations and the anxieties of individuals from all political backgrounds. However, he does not go beyond this description to explicitly endorse a perspective on the matter.
Now on to the cuts and additions. The majority of the cuts were to Chapters 3 (US Hegemony in Global Politics), 7 (Security in the Contemporary World), and 8 (Environment and Natural Resources) of Contemporary Global Politics. These cuts are not particularly offensive, although if one wants to find problems with them, they can cite the issue of the Aarey forest, and the treatment of native Indians and link it to the deletion of chapter 8. However , the most controversial cuts are underway. the second reader, Politics in India since independence. Chapters 7 (Rise of Popular Movements) and 8 (Regional Aspirations) have been deleted entirely, and the manual content of Chapter 3 (Policy of Planned Development) has been deleted and replaced with a three paragraph passage relating to NITI Aayog. Chapter 9 (Recent Trends in Indian Politics) has also been amended, in which the section dealing with recent challenges and growing difficulties that Indian secularism has faced following the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat riots of 2002 has been discontinued. However, a four paragraph passage on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral victories in 2014 and 2019 has been added.
These paragraphs attribute the prime minister’s electoral success entirely to his promise to bring development and the alleged achievement of these noble goals. Even assuming that there are no political considerations behind these cuts, the changes that have been made are particularly curious. You don’t have to be a politics junkie to realize that these issues – regional aspirations and federalism, popular movements and secularism – have arguably never been more important than they are. are today. With the repeal of Section 370 and the Centre’s hostility to particular state governments over the implementation of the GST, an economic stimulus in response to the pandemic, and politically involved governors, the question of regional aspirations is clearly an important issue in the modern world. India. In addition, popular movements are relevant in modern India given that there have been two large-scale popular movements that have erupted across the country within a year of each other: the protest anti-CAA / NRC and the farmers’ demonstration. The former was, in fact, caused by the government’s supposed attacks on secularism, and exhibited a broader critique of the realignment and communitarization of Indian identity.
One of the admirable qualities of the manual was that it treated the reader as an intellectual equal. The contentious political issues were presented in an unbiased manner, and the reader drew their own conclusions and sometimes served as a starting point for longer and more abstract discussions. It describes historical phenomena and their consequences in an understandable way and leaves room for skepticism. All of this helped shape his understanding of the subject as a subjective science that encouraged analysis and contained very few absolutes. The new content is terse and contains a plethora of problematic proclamations and decrees. Many of the conclusions drawn by the additional content, for example about Article 370 and its alleged popular support, the failure of the Planning Commission are not settled issues at all. They must be explored impartially, through a critical and analytical lens, with the added benefit of further hindsight, to ensure that the correct conclusion can be drawn and presented to the generally impressionable student body of our country.
I concede that the laconism of the new content can facilitate memorization and regurgitation and give students higher marks, whether done innocently because of its authority over their lives or in a cynical manner. Either way, it does little, if anything, to encourage the habit of analysis. This is particularly ironic when you consider the government and its deployment of the NEP, which is supposed to encourage ingenuity and critical thinking.
The writer is a student at Shiv Nadar School, Noida