UGC’s new BA History syllabus an attempt at saffronisation of education, alleges students’ body

University Grants Commission’s (UGC) new Learning Outcomes Based Curriculum for BA History is a blatant attempt at saffronisation of syllabus and distortion of history, alleges Students Islamic Organization of India.

“The draft curriculum provides disproportionate importance to Hindu religious literature and presents an uncritical and unhistorical view of ancient Indian civilization and the Vedic period,” read a statement by Mohammad Salman Ahmad, national president of the students’ body.

According to the SIO, the proposed syllabus marginalizes the history and ethical traditions of various other communities inhabiting the country.

“This preferential bias towards a particular culture to represent all Indian knowledge is violative of our constitutional principles and threatens the plurality of our country,” claims the students’ body.

In the draft syllabus, the third paper “From Earliest Times to 550 CE”, names Harappan civilization as “Indus-Saraswati Civilisation”. According to Sangh Parivar, the Saraswati existed and symbolized continuity from the Harappan era to later Hindu periods, in contradistinction to the theory of the Aryan invasion. The scholars and academics say no such term as the ‘Saraswati civilization’ existed before.

SIO says that the draft curriculum deviates from the basic principles of Historiography by presenting mythological figures and fabled events as part of history.

Critics also pointed out that the new syllabus has just one paper covering the 13th century to the 18th century period, reducing the importance of Muslim rule. Earlier it has three papers, taught over three semesters.

The term ‘invasion’ has been used in the new syllabus only in the case of Muslim rulers including Babar, not even against the East India Company, according to the critics.

“At the same time, it seeks to downplay or misrepresent the role of other actual historical figures and events to create a dubious past that exists only in Hindutva minds,” it said.

This is the first time the UGC is attempting to draw up a full-fledged history syllabus instead of issuing general guidelines.

“It’s ironic that on one hand, UGC is pushing for the autonomy of colleges, and on the other hand, insists on providing a one-size-fits-all curriculum for educational institutes across the country,” read the SIO national president’s statement.

From making final year exams compulsory during the COVID-19 pandemic to common syllabi, UGC’s undue interference will prove detrimental to the cause of higher education in a vast and diverse country like India, the students’ body observed.