The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is considering the inclusion of the epic journey of Lord Rama as a king in the revered Indian scripture, the Ramayana. Proposals put forth by a high-level committee for social sciences suggest incorporating narratives detailing Ram’s rule, his vanvas (exile), and his unique governance methods that aimed at unity without dividing his subjects. If accepted by the government, these chapters could soon become integral components of India’s ‘classical period’ studies, offering students a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural tapestry that defines the nation.
CI Issac, who leads a committee at the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), has suggested that the current way of teaching history mostly talks about the time when the British ruled India and doesn’t pay enough attention to India’s ancient and epic history, especially the Vedic age.
Issac said it’s a problem that the current lessons mainly focus on when foreign forces came, took over, and ruled India.
“The epic history and the history of the Vedic age are missing. Our children do not study about the golden era Bharat had. They don’t have Ramayana or Mahabharata in their syllabus. We, in our first meeting, proposed the inclusion of Ram, his journey from the north to the south, and how he brought everyone together while ruling. He never divided anyone. Why should we only read the history of the invaders, the battles we lost? Why should we not have the pieces depicting Bharat’s golden era,” he asked.
The committee, led by Issac and a team of seven members, has suggested a few changes to fix these issues. The committee thinks it’s a good idea to use ‘Bharat’ as the official name of the country in history books. This is part of a larger effort to ‘move away from a history influenced by other countries and create an Indian identity’. This plan is connected to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a group linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Apart from looking back at the past, the committee also wants to make changes to the way modern history is taught. Right now, it mainly talks about the time when the British ruled India. The suggested changes aim to include more detailed chapters about national heroes who played important roles in India’s fight for freedom. People like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and Chandrashekhar Azad, who might not have gotten enough attention before, would be highlighted.
“The classical history may cover a period between the Vedic age and the Gupta period. There is almost no mention of the Vedic age, the epic history. We have only read the names of the Vedas. There should be more details,” Issac said.
“The modern history is largely about the British rule. Many national heroes who contributed to the freedom struggle immensely did not find any mention. The ones who were mentioned have not been elaborated upon. We also recommended elaborate chapters on some of our national heroes,” he further added.