NCERT Drops Mention Of India's First Education Minister Maulana Azad From Class 11 Textbook

As part of its "syllabus rationalisation" exercise, the NCERT has dropped certain portions from the course including lessons on Gujarat riots, Mughal courts, the Emergency, Cold War, Naxalite movement, among others from its textbooks.

The report has taken into account the National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted by the NCERT

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has removed references to freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was India’s first education minister, in its latest syllabus revision for the new class 11 political science textbook, drawing criticism from certain sections of society. 

As part of its "syllabus rationalisation" exercise last year, the NCERT has dropped certain portions from the course including lessons on Gujarat riots, Mughal courts, the Emergency, Cold War, Naxalite movement, among others from its textbooks. The organisation cited "overlapping" and "irrelevant" as reasons for the decision.

The rationalisation note had no mention of any changes in Class 11 political science textbook. The NCERT also claimed that no curriculum trimming has taken place this year and the syllabus was rationalised in June last year. 

"Certain changes not finding mention of in the rationalised content book could be an 'oversight'," NCERT Director Dinesh Saklani reiterated. 

In the concerned Class 11 textbook, the first chapter, titled “Constitution - Why and How”, has a line that has been revised to omit Azad's name from the constituent assembly committee meetings.

The new line reads, "Usually, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel or BR Ambedkar chaired these Committees."

Similarly, in the tenth chapter, titled "The Philosophy of the Constitution", the reference to Jammu and Kashmir's conditional accession has also been deleted. 

"For example, the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian union was based on a commitment to safeguard its autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution," says the dropped paragraph.

Last year, the Ministry of Minority Affairs discontinued the Maulana Azad Fellowship, launched in 2009, and provided financial assistance for five years to students from six notified minorities. 


The Congress lashed out at the central government, which oversees the NCERT syllabus, over the “unceremonious” removal of references to Maulana Azad, calling it a huge travesty of history, his name, stature, personality and contribution.

Addressing a press conference on the issue at the AICC headquarters here, Congress spokesperson Anshul Avijit said there is a concerted attempt by this government to pass on a "concocted, distorted legacy built on lies and untruth to the next generation".

"I condemn it in the strongest possible words. He was the first education minister of India and look at this irony that the first education minister who laid the foundations of universal compulsory education for those under 14 years of age, his very name has been deleted, absolutely shameful," the Congress leader said.

Azad had a great contribution in the freedom movement, was a great scholar, a follower of Gandhian principles, a follower of Swaraj and Swadeshi and was part of the Constituent Assembly committees, he said. "Nobody is safe from the pace of re-writing history this government is undertaking."

Avijit also accused the RSS of indulging in re-writing history and said, "Those who played no role in the freedom movement, disrespected the national flag and had no role in the making of India's Constitution, they are the ones who are imposing themselves on our history and trying to change it for generations to come".

"Any reference to the Gujarat riots has been obliterated, there is no reference to the banning of the RSS after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the atrocities due to the caste system have been downplayed now," he highlighted.

Other critical texts missing from NCERT’s new syllabus

The NCERT’s latest revision has received heavy criticism from academics, as well as Opposition politicians, who came up in arms against the Narendra Modi-led government.

Outlook has previously reported on how political parties are often guilty of trying to change the past according to their ideologies.

Outlook's July 2022 magazine issue titled 'Errors, Ommissions, Insertions' also looked at the syllabus rationalisation process by NCERT in the context of politicisation of history and the politics of exclusion. 

Among other texts missing this year include "Gandhiji's death had magical effect on communal situation in the country", "Gandhi's pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists" and "Organisations like RSS were banned for some time" from the Class 12 political science textbook for the new academic session.

Moreover, the portions referring to Gujarat riots have also been dropped from Class 11 sociology textbook, months after NCERT removed the reference to the 2022 communal violence in two Class 12 textbooks.