Home > History, India, Indian Economy, Indian education, Media, Politics, Social Trends > School text books reflect Indian culture poorly: Survey

School text books reflect Indian culture poorly: Survey


Language, logic and liberty. How all three are getting affected in India by English language.

British Colonialism survived. In Indian minds! A cartoon after the Jallianwala massacre of Indian civilians at Amritsar by British troops on 13 April 1919. Captioned 'Progress to Liberty - Amritsar style'. (Cartoonist: David Low (1891-1963) Published: The Star, 16 Dec 1919; Source - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/record/LSE6183).

British Colonialism survived. In Indian minds! A cartoon after the Jallianwala massacre of Indian civilians at Amritsar by British troops on 13 April 1919. Captioned 'Progress to Liberty - Amritsar style'. (Cartoonist: David Low (1891-1963) Published: The Star, 16 Dec 1919; Source - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/record/LSE6183).

While correcting the answersheets of a post-graduate dance exam, Kanak Rele, a Mohiniattam exponent, was left aghast when one of the students listed Michael Jackson and Hrithik Roshan as India’s contribution to world dance.

Her Centre conducted a survey of more than 600 textbooks used by students studying in schools affiliated to the Maharashtra state board, CBSE and ICSE board and found that not more than 28% of the information in their curriculum relates to Indian culture.

“Our syllabi reflect our cultural heritage very poorly,” said Kanak Rele.

The survey, ‘Discovering India – A Survey of School Textbooks and Curriculum in Maharashtra,’ was conducted over 13 months by eight researchers and was commissioned by the Union ministry of culture.The survey found that texts such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and tales from Panchatantra, Jataka and Hitopadesha were omitted from textbooks but Aesop’s Fables had been included.

“It is shocking that the south and north-eastern parts of India are almost neglected in the textbooks which are overwhelmingly tilted toward central and north India,” said the survey report, which rated books on different parameters such as tradition and culture, history, heritage, Indian thought and spirituality.

The researchers analysed every lesson in 638 textbooks of three languages Hindi, Marathi and English, maths, science, social studies and Sanskrit and compared references of any of the above parameters to other information.The Secondary School Certificate SSC textbooks fared the worst with only 22% of the information relating to Indian culture, followed by Central Board of Secondary Education had 26% and the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education ICSE 27%. (via Indian culture reflected poorly in school syllabi, finds survey – Hindustan Times).

Sow and reap

Why is this not surprising? Not shocking at all.

After funding and promoting foreign language (English) as the main language for higher education. India signed away its future to those who control English – English media, English Universities, English ideology, English polity.

English everything!

Poor India promotes English language

This shock and surprise displays India’s position on English language – non-negotiable.

Any number of such reports will paper over the root-cause – English language. As the British Empire was sinking under the weight of its own hubris, George Orwell, the apologist-in-chief of the declining Empire wrote:

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past (from Nineteen Eighty Four (1984); by George Orwell).

And the departing British did exactly that.

The Trojan Horse

They sent their foremost propagandists to malform Indian history – before they left. More than 65 years later, we are still trying to clean and correct colonial garbage – which is called Indian history.

English language is like the Greek ‘gift’ of the wooden horse to Troy in the Trojan War.

The ‘gift’ that was the Trojan doom!

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  1. Akhilesh
    January 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks. I was wondering what is the status of the Indus Valley series? No posts in this regard?

  2. January 25, 2012 at 4:07 am

  3. samadhyayi
    January 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    and yet here we are. ‘i’ from south india and ‘you’ from north unable to communicate without english. if only there was an indian language version of this blog. you know it is like keeping a secret council and yet our enemies know what we are up to because we use their language.

  4. January 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    In all this language debate it seems people forget the insistence on learning in mother tongue is because our experience can be conveyed more precisely and felt more appropriately with it. The conceptual units of experiences that English refers to is completely different than that of native tongues in India. for example – the English word “desire” does not map exactly to “kaama” since kaama has no plural!

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