Saraswati to be in history books; other subjects soon

The Haryana government has decided to include the history of Saraswati river in school curriculum from the current session itself. Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board (HSHDB) oficials say that new history books from Classes VI to XII, scheduled to be sent for printing later this month when schools reopen, will have some mention of the ancient river.

Even as the intervention in the middle of the current academic year will be minimal, the BJP-led government will go full tilt from the next session, including Saraswati modules in other subjects as well — including geography, English, Hindi and Sanskrit, officials told The Indian Express.

A 15-member Saraswati Syllabus Committee led by assistant director of Centre for BR Ambedkar Studies at Kurukshetra University, Pritam Singh, has been formed in this regard. Other members of the panel include teachers and experts of history, geography and geology. The panel will submit its report on September 15, which will then be sent to the Chief Minister’s office.

Dhumman Singh Kirmach, vice-chairman of HSHDB, said that the decision to include the topic in school curriculum has been taken upon the recommendation of CM Manohar Lal Khattar (also the chairman of the Board) and state education minister Kanwar Pal.

Not only in schools, the plan is to start specialised courses and research projects in colleges and universities as well eventually, added Kirmach.

Kirmach said that the ultimate aim is to get Saraswati modules included as part of NCERT books and national curriculum.

“To start with, the syllabus of Haryana Shiksha Board and SCERT books will include Saraswati studies, but eventually, we will send recommendations to NCERT to include some chapters or even paragraphs on the river in their books as well, so that children across the country become aware about our history and culture,” he said.

A course is also being developed for the Kurukshetra University (KU) from 2022-23, with inputs from a committee formed by HSHDB and KU’s Centre of Excellence for Research on the Saraswati river. Students will have the option to choose this course and also carry out research work on the Sarasvati sites.

As for universities, he said, the Board’s plan is to send the same KU syllabus to other universities not only in Haryana, but also in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat — all the states the Saraswati river passed through.

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