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Opposition slams Centre after NCERT panel's suggests replacing 'India' with 'Bharat' in textbooks


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A high-level committee constituted by the NCERT to revise the social sciences curriculum has recommended that "India" should be replaced with "Bharat" in textbooks for all classes. NEW DELHI: Leaders of several opposition parties on Wednesday opposed an NCERT panel's recommendation to replace "India" with "Bharat" in school textbooks, and alleged that the ruling BJP wanted to change history and was taking such "desperate steps" fearing its defeat at the hands of the opposition bloc INDIA. Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said the word "India" evoked as much pride as "Bharat" but the ruling dispensation wants "to indoctrinate an entire generation into hating a word we grew up feeling a lot of pride towards." There has been a raging debate over the government using "Bharat" instead of "India" at various international events in the recent past after the opposition parties named their grouping as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). A high-level committee constituted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to revise the social sciences curriculum has recommended that "India" should be replaced with "Bharat" in textbooks for all classes. According to committee chairperson C I Isaac, the panel has also suggested introducing "classical history", instead of "ancient history", in the curriculum and including the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) in the syllabus for all subjects. NCERT Chairman Dinesh Saklani, however, said no decision has been taken yet on the panel's recommendations. Reacting sharply to the recommendations, Congress leader Venugopal said, "Be it Team India on the field or the Indian Space Research Organisation - the word India evokes pride just as much as Bharat. Their fear of a resounding defeat at the hands of INDIA is making them take such desperate steps." "These name-changers want to indoctrinate an entire generation into hating a word we grew up feeling a lot of pride towards," he said in a post on X. He later told reporters that the BJP is neither sincere towards "Bharat" nor towards "India." "Changing the name is merely a tactic by the BJP for politics of polarisation," he said. Venugopal claimed that they are suggesting so many things in their bid to distort India's history through school textbooks and curriculum. "For us, India and Bharat are equal," he asserted. Another Congress leader, Ambika Soni, said, "In the Constitution, it is written India that is Bharat. Both names are there." RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha said it has been a hysterical reaction of the BJP regime ever since the INDIA bloc was formed. "Will they change the name of country to 'Jambudweep' or some other name if the INDIA alliance changes its name to 'BHARAT'," he claimed. AAP spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar said, "It shows the fear PM Modi has of the INDIA alliance. His alliance partners are leaving him. Instead of changing name, efforts should be made to focus on issues of joblessness, inflation, and corruption." DMK spokesperson Saravanan Annadurai said the BJP is restoring to name-change politics in order "to divert the attention of people from its misdeeds and maladministration." Congress leader and Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said the NCERT panel recommendation was "wrong" and alleged an NDA hand behind the move. Shivakumar wondered why there is the Reserve Bank of India, Indian Administrative Services and Indian Foreign Services, hinting that the word "Bharat" was not used. "Why the Republic of India is written on Indian passport," he asked. Alleging that the NDA government forced the NCERT to take the "decision", he said the move was "completely wrong" and urged the Centre not to accept the recommendation. "You cannot change the history of India. Though you try to change Congress' history, you cannot do it. The Congress' history is the country's history. So the Congress party has given the country a great history. We have ensured India's independence. We call it Indian independence. We don't call it Bharat independence," he said. Congress leader Salman Khurshid said, "Our perspective is far more profound when it comes to Bharat, whether it's India, Bharat, or Hindustan, they (BJP) won't understand. They only focus on their electoral gains in everything they do." Congress leader Jignesh Mevani the move showed disrespect towards the Constitution in which "India, that is, Bharat" is written. "So, both words can be used interchangeably," he said. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)