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

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North-east Indians and Others

Discrimination, Prejudice and Textbooks

School textbooks play a signifi cant part in perpetuating stereotypes and prejudices about tribals, minority communities and other marginalised groups. The north-east states of the country and their people and cultures are very often not mentioned at all. However, the new NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) social science textbooks, besides being pedagogically superior, attempt to grapple with the real lives of people and sensitise and help children to critically engage with issues of diversity, inequality and discrimination.

Discussions and incisive comments by Suresk K Reddy who meticulously read drafts of this commentary helped me bring it to its present form.

The lynching and subsequent death of Nido Tania, a college student from Arunachal Pradesh in New Delhi, and more recently, the violence against six residents of Gurgaon who hailed from the north-east, leading to two of them losing their hearing are among a spate of such incidents which repeatedly remind us of the deeply divided nature of Indian society. Our society is not just stratified but actively nurtures prejudices. In an effort to understand such behaviour, this article makes a modest attempt to locate a significant part of this problem in experiences of our schooling, especially textbooks.

Stereotyping Others

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