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

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Stores of Facts

Amar Farooqui’s “The NET Paradox” (EPW, 23 November 2013) conveys a clear message that those entrusted with ensuring national standards in the teaching and cultivation of history are bent on ensuring that students of history do not emerge as historians. This may sound farcical, but the facts elicited by Farooqui do not, unfortunately, permit a more hopeful conclusion.

Amar Farooqui’s “The NET Paradox” (EPW, 23 November 2013) conveys a clear message that those entrusted with ensuring national standards in the teaching and cultivation of history are bent on ensuring that students of history do not emerge as historians. This may sound farcical, but the facts elicited by Farooqui do not, unfortunately, permit a more hopeful conclusion.

Apart from disgraceful errors in the questions that are set, at what should be the highest academic level, the examination itself seems aimed at checking stores of facts, instead of assessing the analytical and methodological abilities of historians in the making. If history teaching, at least at the master's level, aims at nurturing future historians, it involves training in, and testing of the historian’s craft. This consists of examining primary and ­secondary sources, selecting and arranging facts in chronological and/or thematic frame, lucid narration/description of the period or topic, followed by explanation and analysis, often reckoning with criticism and historical debate.

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