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The Future of our Past: The Textbook and Ways of being Indian - Janaki Nair


A talk held as part of the Between Teaching and Learning workshop series in December 2021.

'For too long, the history textbook has been tied, worldwide, to the image that every nation-state wishes to promote, of unity, heroism and uninterrupted glory. In some cases, professional historians have engaged with extracting the history book from this vice like grip, and introduced the possibility of teaching children to think historically. In India too, as many have shown, history textbooks have usually been over-ideologized, with less attention paid to the pedagogical needs of the school child. I take from the words of noted educationist Krishna Kumar at a History for Peace History teachers’ workshop some years ago to speculate on a possibility of being Indian without being nationalist. Do we have instances of history textbook writing in India that have managed to avoid the state ownership of history and allow children to think historically? What is the Future of our Past?'

- Janaki Nair


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