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Bollywood enters NCERT books

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Monday, June 11, 2007
Remember the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Deewar in which a boy who earns his livelihood by polishing shoes at the footpath refuses to pick up a coin thrown at him?

The plot may be part of Bollywood folklore, but the message of "self dignity" it conveys has enabled it to find a place in the social science and political life-ii textbook prepared by the NCERT for class VII students. The textbook also carries the still of the scene from the film.

"The particular scene shows how the boy feels dignity in work and he insists that money be given respectfully. This will inculcate a sense of self dignity among students who will respect others' self esteem also," NCERT spokesman B C Patro said.

The chapter on 'equality in Indian democracy' also gives the story of famous Dalit writer Omprakash Valmiki who faced discrimination during his school days. The chapter gives excerpts from the constitution on equality.

Gender sensitization also remains a focus area of the NCERT books all through. The magic math book for the class-IV students presents the story of Kiran, a kabadiwala (scrap dealer) in Bihar who despite her abject poverty struggled to make her own identity in society.

Kiran, who could not pursue her education beyond a certain point, has been recently made the brand ambassador of UNICEF to promote female literacy in Bihar. "It is the true story of a village girl who proved that poverty and gender disparity cannot be impediments in the way to achieve success," Patro said.

The magic math book of class-III also gives the story of Pedki Devi, a rural woman from Andhra Pradesh who was forced to discontinue her education and marry at an early age.

The chapter, which teaches the concept of time-scale, also presents the picture of child marriage and the common problems faced by the rural women in India. The class-VII book on 'social and political life-II' also gives a complete chapter on 'gender'. The story of Mumbai dabbawallas is also an eye-opener for many, which shows the professionalism, punctuality and time management of these people who did not have any formal training from any B-school.

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