Changing the country's name from 'India' to 'Bharat' in school textbooks will instill national pride in students, averred Professor CI Issac who heads a social sciences committee which has put forth the name-change proposal. He made the statement while giving an interview to the Free Press Journal. Throwing his weight behind the idea of rechristening the country, Professor Issac underscored that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) cannot evade national sentiment anymore.
'Sense of national pride'
The seven members of the committee, which has been constituted by the NCERT, have unanimously agreed to the aforementioned proposal, he said, believing that the NCERT will accept and implement the recommendation. Explaining the reasons for mooting the name-change idea, the professor said, “Many students leave India and settle abroad. They are the creme of the crowd. We need to have youth who have a sense of national pride. The students between 7th and 12th grades are in their formative years. Teaching them about the country’s victories and about 'Bharat' will make the youth feel proud of their country.”
Pointing out that even Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan supports the proposal, Professor Issac further said that history textbooks don't talk about the country's victories in battle, instead they just mention losses. “This is the reason why students have an inferiority complex,” he underscored, adding that even history students don't know about the country's battle triumphs. To back his claim, he cited instances, saying that Mohammed Ghori was killed by Indian tribals, but students don't know about this. Similarly, the battle of Colachel is not in textbooks, he added.
However, the name-change idea has also invited sharp reactions from the likes of Kerala education minister. Responding to this, the professor argued, “They want to change Kerala to Keralam. They changed Bombay to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai. Then, why is the change from 'India' to 'Bharat' creating so much controversy?”
'How is the recommendation political?'
When queried about the politicisation of education, he said, “The panel has seven members and six of them aren't affiliated with any political party. How is the recommendation political? If the elections were far away, no one would have a problem with this recommendation. It's all petty politics.” Commenting on his alleged involvement with RSS, he asserted, “I have nothing to do with RSS. I am Christian whose family roots go back 500 years.”
The panel has also recommended that the terminology of ancient, medieval and modern history be changed. Ancient history should be called classical history and the victories of Indian kings and the methodologies of the Indian knowledge system be heavily incorporated into the curriculum in the 7th-10th grade textbooks. “In the formative years between grades 7 and 10, they (students) should learn great things about the country,” concluded Professor Issac.