ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Contextualising the Debates

The Constitution, Cartoons and Controversies

A close reading of the Political Science textbook shows that it is complex, moves beyond pat answers, and treats the Constitution as a living document. It was produced in the light of the National Curriculum Framework 2005, which in itself was a major attempt to democratise education, and reverse the National Curriculum Framework 2000 which was casteist and sexist.

The Political Science textbook for Class XI, prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in 2006, has come into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Titled Indian Constitution at Work (henceforth ICW), and meant for senior students who opt for Political Science at the senior secondary level, the team, including school, college and university teachers as well as independent researchers, produced a text that has been challenging in a variety of ways.

The book begins with “A letter to you”, inviting the reader, whether teacher, parent, or learner, to a dialogue. The letter was written by the chief advisors, Suhas Palshikar and Yogendra Yadav, who have since resigned, in the midst of the cartoon controversy. The last paragraph of the letter reads as follows:

Dear reader,

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