History textbooks have a history of being contentious: MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe

A house panel led by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe has tabled a report on content and design of school textbooks. The MP tells Sourav Roy Barman about its purpose and potential impact.

Why did the committee feel the need to focus on history textbooks?

We reviewed textbooks in general. But history textbooks have a history of being contentious. We discussed not just content but presentation too.

Are you satisfied with the final report that does not really point out the specific distortions that the panel had set out to remove?

We were not keen on making a laundry list. Our job was to recommend ways and means to ensure that no distortions take place in future. We have done that.

The panel invited a large number of RSS affiliates before it to depose before it. Did they have many apprehensions about the issue?

Many of them have researched this subject for a long time. They have painstakingly analysed biases and called for doing justice to unsung heroes. Other ideological groups also shared their views.

Will this report be beneficial to the steering committee of the National Curriculum Framework to revise NCERT textbooks?

That is what we believe. I am sure it will help create a checklist of dos and don’ts while shaping the content of a textbook.

What explains the lack of representation of women achievers in textbooks as pointed out by the committee?

All achievers need recognition. But when people, formerly ministers, who describe women only as beauties, rule for a long time, it is least surprising that this happened in the past. Now, things will change.

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