Indian School Textbook from NCERT Distorts History of Tamil Nadu

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 2012 (ID. 2012-12-01)
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CBSE - Central Board of Secondary Education

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

NCERT - National Council of Educational Research and Training

Indian government sponsored history textbooks spend most of the pages on north India that now constitutes the Hindi belt region, and spend just a small fraction of the book on South and East. This is even pointed out by historians from the South. On February 12, 2002, the Twenty Ninth All-India Conference of Dravidian Linguistics held in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala State, passed a resolution urging the Government of India to give South India its rightful and legitimate share in history books and to withdraw the new school syllabus prepared and published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)

The recent Class XII Political Science text book, prepared under the auspicious of the Indian government funded National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), titled "Politics in India since Independence" (First Edition 2007), has a section titled "Dravidian movement" in pages 152 and 153. In this article we are not looking into whether Tamil Nadu politics got adequate coverage or not. Here we are looking into if it received accurate coverage. Was the information correct? Professor Dr. A.Ramasamy and Professor Dr. N.K.Mangalamurugesan, President and Secretary of Dravidian Historical Research Centre wrote a letter to the Indian Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal pointing out three mistakes in the history of Dravidian parties, as well as a separate criticism about the way the 1965 Tamil Nadu Students Anti-Hindi Agitation was portrayed. Here we limit ourselves to the examination of just one mistake in the history of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

The textbook says, "The DMK made its entry into politics with a three pronged agitation in 1953-54". Then it lists the three. That is where the "lie" comes in. The NCERT textbook says, "The second agitation was for giving Tamil cultural history greater importance in school curricula". This is absolutely false. 

What is the truth? DMK's website lists the three agitations of 1953 (http://www.dmk.in/agit.html). We reproduce the content of that page here.

"In 1953, to protect the self-respect of the Tamils, the DMK launched a three-pronged agitation with the objectives of:

1. Renaming the Railway station Dalmiapuram (named after a Private Company) as Kallakudi since the latter was the original name of the place, under the leadership of Dr. Kalaignar.

2. Withdrawal of the caste-based education policy* of the Congress Government led by Rajaji and,

3. Demanding unconditional apology from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for insulting the people of TamilNadu.

This agitation became a landmark in the history of DMK."

There is no mention of "agitation for giving Tamil cultural history greater importance in school curricula". What the textbook has done is remove the "agitation demanding unconditional apology from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for insulting the people of TamilNadu" and replace it with false information. You can get more information about this agitation from the Tamil book "Thee Mu Ka Varalaaru" (DMK History) by T. M. Parthasarathy, Bharathi Nilayam (publisher), Chennai, Fourth Edition 1984 also. T. M. Parthasarathy was with DMK from its very inception and was a member of the first General Committee (pothu kuzhu). The first  General-Secretary of DMK C. N. Annadurai wrote a "preface" to the book (pages i - iii). Top DMK leaders M. Karunanidi, Mathiyazhagan, Anbazhagan and Arangannal wrote notes praising the book (pages iv - x). So we may consider this book's description of what happened in 1953 as authentic. This book does not mention " agitation  for giving Tamil cultural history greater importance in school curricula" but discusses the "agitation demanding unconditional apology from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for insulting the people of TamilNadu" (page 146, 150).

Thus we have two authentic sources of information about the agitation -- DMK website and a book written by a senior DMK leader -- both of which contradict the NCERT textbook. Why would the NCERT textbook "falsify" history? Is it because the Indian government funded NCERT did not want future generations to know that there was an agitation in Tamil Nadu against the much revered first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru because he, according to DMK, insulted the people of Tamil Nadu? Whatever the reason, history should not be falsified and fed to young students as truth.

Indian government funded school textbooks should give adequate and accurate coverage to non-Hindi regions.


* Official name of the proposed education system was "Modified Scheme of Elementary Education". Very few people used this name except in official documents. Hereditary education policy, hereditary/caste education scheme and Rajaji's education scheme are some of the other names people used. The Tamil name "kula vazhi kalvi thittam" (loosely translated as "caste-based education scheme") is the one used by many of the opponents of the scheme. DMK's English language website also uses the name "caste-based education policy".

NOTE: We have quoted from DMK's official website couple of times. They are based on what is in that website in August 2012.


1. Indian School Textbook from NCERT Distorts and Disparages 1965 Tamil Nadu Students Anti-Hindi Imposition Agitation (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 2012 (8 KB) (h, tn)

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