‘Patriotism and pride…’: Why NCERT panel chief wants Ramayana, Mahabharata in school textbooks

A panel constituted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), to advise the education body on revisions needed to the school curriculum, has sought the inclusion of Ramayana and Mahabharata in textbooks.

The recommendation has been made by the NCERT panel in-charge of suggesting changes to the social sciences syllabus.

The committee’s chairperson, Professor CI Isaac, said it is essential to include the two ancient texts in the curriculum to develop a sense of patriotism, pride and love for the culture in students during their teenage years, the Hindustan Times reported. Both, Ramayana and Mahabharata, are significant to be taught to students between classes 7 and 12, he added, as per the report.

“The committee has insisted on teaching epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata in the social science syllabus to students. We think that students in their teenage years build their self-esteem, patriotism and pride for their nation,” HT quoted him as saying. 

“Every year thousands of students leave the country and seek citizenship in other countries because of the lack of patriotism among them. Therefore, it is important for them to understand their roots and develop love for their country and their culture,” Isaac reportedly added.

The official, however, clarified that the panel has not made any fresh recommendation by suggesting to include Ramayana and Mahabharata in the syllabus. The recommendation to include them “was also made earlier”, he added, as per the report. 

The professor also sounded critical of those education boards who are teaching the ancient Hindu texts as “myths”. “Although some education boards presently teach Ramayana to students, they teach it as a myth. What is a myth? There is no purpose of the education system if the students are not taught these epics, and it will not be nation serving,” HT further quoted him as saying.

Last month, the Issac-led panel had recommended replacing the name ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in textbooks, and sought to replace “classical history” with “ancient history” in the syllabus.

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Updated: 21 Nov 2023, 08:07 PM IST

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