The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has introduced in the Class 12 Political Science textbook, the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and has replaced the topic 'Separatism and beyond' with '2002 and Beyond'. The changes are reflected in the chapter 'Regional Aspirations'covered in the textbook 'Politics in India since Independence.'
Chapters on separatism replaced with those on J&K coalitions
On August 5, 2019, the Parliament approved the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. The state was bifurcated into two Union territories — Ladakh with no Legislative Assembly and Jammu and Kashmir with one.
The new section titled '2002 and Beyond' says, “During the tenure of Mehbooba Mufti, major acts of terrorism, mounting external and internal tensions were witnessed. The President’s rule was imposed in June 2018 after BJP withdrew its support to the Mufti government. On 5 August 2019, Article 370 was abolished by the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 and the state was constituted into two Union Territories, viz., Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh."
The new chapter '2002 and Beyond' replaces 'Separatism and Beyond, and talks about the coalition agreement, and abrogation of Article 370.
“As per the coalition agreement, Mufti Mohammed headed the government for the first three years succeeded by Ghulam Nabi Azad. of the Indian National Congress who however could not complete the term as president rule was imposed in the state in July 2008,” the chapter read.
The next election was held in November-December 2008, it said and added, “Another coalition government (composed of NC and INC) came into power headed by Omar Abdullah in 2009. However, the state continued to witness disturbances led by the Hurriyat Conference. In 2014, the state went into another election, which recorded the highest voters’ turnout in 25 years.”
Consequently, a coalition government led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed of the PDP came into power with the BJP as its partner, the chapter says and adds: “After Mufti Mohammed Sayeed died, his daughter Mahbooba Mufti became the first woman Chief Minister of the state in April 2016.”
The section, further, defined her tenure as violent.
'In Spite of its Violence': Opening lines stress on Article 370
The chapter on Jammu and Kashmir, discussing the problem of violence in the region starts with, “As you have studied in the previous year, Jammu and Kashmir had a special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. However, in spite of it, Jammu and Kashmir experienced violence, cross border terrorism and political instability with internal and external ramifications."
It adds: "It also resulted in the loss of many lives including that of innocent civilians, security personnel and militants. Besides, there was also a large scale displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley."
Previously, the chapter's text detailed the region's history without attributing the violence to Article 370.
“You may have heard about the violence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). This has resulted in the loss of many lives and the displacement of many families. The ‘Kashmir issue’ is always seen as a major issue between India and Pakistan. But the political situation in the State has many dimensions,” it had said.
'UNO recommended plebiscite in 1948'
Another change talks about the Kashmir issue being taken to the United Nations Organization (UNO).
It reads, “The issue was taken to the Union Nations Organization, which in its resolution dated 21 April 1948 recommended a three-step process to resolve the issue. Firstly, Pakistan had to withdraw its entire nationalities, who entered into Kashmir. Secondly, India needed to progressively reduce its forces so as to maintain law and order. Thirdly, a plebiscite was to be conducted in a free and impartial manner. However, no progress could be achieved under this resolution.”
New Version Removes the Term 'Kashmiri Identity'
Further study and comparison of old and new versions of the textbook showed that while defining Jammu and Kashmir’s three social and political regions — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, the new chapter drops the line “The heart of the Kashmir region is the Kashmir Valley.” The changes reflected are: “The Jammu region is a mix of foothills and plains. It is predominantly inhabited by the Hindus. Muslims, Sikhs and people of other denominations also reside in this region.”
The new version said, “The Kashmir region mainly comprises the Kashmir valley. It is inhabited mostly by Kashmiri Muslims with the remaining being Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others. The Ladakh region is mainly mountainous. It has very little population which is almost equally divided between Buddhists and Muslims.”
Both versions of the political science textbook define Kashmiriyat, however, while doing so the new version has removed the term “Kashmiri identity,” which was used in the older version.
“The ‘Kashmir issue’ is not just a dispute between India and Pakistan. This issue has external and internal dimensions. It involves the issue of Kashmiri identity known as Kashmiriyat and the aspirations of the people of J&K for political autonomy,” the previous version had read.
As per the changes, Kashmiriyat is discussed in the section “Roots of the Problem” as “…The Pakistani leaders thought that Kashmir region ‘belonged’ to Pakistan since the majority population of the State was Muslim. But this is not how the people of the state themselves saw it— they thought of themselves as Kashmiris above all. This issue of regional aspiration is known as Kashmiriyat.”
The new version of the textbook talks about pluralism: “Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are living examples of plural society in India. Not only are there diversities of all kinds (religious, cultural, linguistic, ethnic and tribal) but there are also divergent political and developmental aspirations, which have been sought to be achieved by the latest Act.”