Yesterday, came across a news item about some school textbooks mentioning Pakistan as an island and China as a part of India. I studied in Mumbai under the Maharashtra State board (1990 batch). History & Geography were my favourite subjects at school. I dont know whether I liked them because I excelled in them or whether I excelled because I liked them. This post is prompted not by my desire to mention how good I was in these subjects, but my desire to mention, why I am ashamed of myself when it comes to History & Geography.
In my school days I thought I was smart because I knew the capital of every African country. But I didnt know about PoK. What is the point of learning about Mauryas & Guptas when you dont know about Kashmir, the requirement of Article 370 etc? Why keep a student in dark till 10th standard about LOC. What is the point of learning about World Wars in detail, when the later war with Pakistan are just paras . We discuss about saffronisation of textbooks but not about Congressisation of textbooks. What happened in northeast during the freedom struggle, or what happened in South during freedom struggle? How on earth are people supposed to respect and care for people, they dont know anything about. All one read about was Gandhiji & Nehruji. People can write essays on Nehru but can anyone student write 5 lines on Sardar Patel, who played a important role after Independence, forget leaders from other parts of country? I can understand a textbook in North Korea not criticising their leaders, and not reflecting what actually happened. But under the Congressisation of education, haven't Nehru & Gandhi, become holy cows, who never did any wrong?
I wonder today how many history text books today, talk about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Do the teachers discuss in classrooms, why they haven't been able to return inspite of having a democratic government? When PoK has been in existence for so many years and when many Pakistanis would have moved into it, what are our chances of having a map that also reflects reality.
I doubt it. And all those who think everything they need to know is mentioned in the textbooks and scoring marks is enough, will have to be disillusioned. To prevent it, why not include in the textbooks a line "The assumption that it is enough to know what is mentioned in the textbooks is false and ficititious. And if the knowledge turns out to be enough, its just a coincidence and in no way bears any resemblance to the intention behind textbook".