A panel constituted by the government to review NCERT textbooks for Political and Social Science has recommended that some cartoons in these books that are allegedly offensive to politicians and bureaucrats should be deleted.
The six-member panel , headed by Professor Sukhdeo Thorat, was set up to identify "educationally inappropriate material" after an uproar in Parliament over a cartoon by Shankar that was allegedly disrespectful of BR Ambedkar.
After reviewing nearly 200 cartoons currently being used in school textbooks, the committee submitted its report last month and suggested that some of these be deleted, especially those that it says are "negative" or show politicians and bureaucrats in "an incorrect way". The panel has also suggested that note below some cartoons be changed to "bring clarity."
Contrary to the panel's suggestions, some teachers say these cartoons in textbooks can help students understand the topic and offer them some respite from heavy reading. Intellectuals and others have also argued that most times, the cartoons are misrepresented.Some cartoons that the panel says should be deleted are:
- An RK Laxman cartoon showing a beggar holding a bowl out to a garlanded Indira Gandhi - The panel says that the cartoon may be deleted for being "politically sensitive".
- A Shankar cartoon showing Jawahar Lal Nehru using his foot to propel a politician up into a building labelled 'Governorship' - The panel says it may be deleted as it "conveys a sense of ambiguity".
- A Surendra cartoon allegedly showing babus blocking the Right To Information (RTI) - The panel says it may be deleted as it is "not a correct interpretation" of the role of bureaucracy.