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Darwin Must Stay in Indian School Textbooks, The Hindu Editorial Analysis

The Hindu Editorial Analysis: The editorial analysis of The Hindu Newspaper Editorial Articles aimed at simplifying various concepts relevant to the UPSC and other State PSC Exams. The Editorial Analysis helps in expanding the knowledge base as well as framing better quality mains answers. Today’s Hindu Editorial Analysis of “Darwin Must Stay in Indian School Textbooks” discusses various aspects related to revision of school books and why theory of Darwin must be in school syllabus.

Darwin Must Stay in Indian School Textbooks in News

In 2018, Satyapal Singh, who was the Union Minister of Human Resource Development at the time, declared that Darwin’s theory of evolution was scientifically incorrect and demanded that it be excluded from the educational curricula of schools and colleges in India.

  • The following year, Nageswara Rao Gollapalli, the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University, made a statement at the 106th Indian Science Congress suggesting that the “theory of Dashavatara” provided a more accurate explanation of evolution than Darwin’s theory.
  • In the academic year 2021-22, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) removed Darwin’s theory from the examination syllabus for Class 9 and 10 students.
  • Recently, the NCERT has taken another step by eliminating the entire section on evolution from its Class 10 textbooks.
  • Some scientists and educators have expressed concern about withholding this information from students, particularly those who do not pursue biology beyond the 10th grade, citing potential danger.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Darwin’s theory, which is well-established in the scientific community, provides an explanation for the origin of all life on earth, including humans. This theory opposes the idea that a divine creator designed and placed living organisms in their current state.

  • It is commonly taught that Darwin’s theory was developed from the fossils he gathered and the observations he made of the natural world during his five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836.

Influences on Darwin’s Theory That are Not Taught in Schools

Many factors influenced the development of Darwin’s theory of evolution that are often not taught in our schools. These must be taught in order to ensure comprehensive understanding of the topic. Few of these influences are discussed below-

Charles Lyell’s book Principles of Geology

It is not commonly known that prior to embarking on his voyage, Darwin was given a copy of geologist Charles Lyell’s book Principles of Geology by the ship’s captain.

  • After conducting extensive studies on glaciers, fossils, and volcanoes, Charles Lyell developed the concept of “gradual geological change”.
  • This theory suggests that geological phenomena and objects observed today are the result of small changes accumulating over a prolonged period, similar to how advantageous mutations in organisms accumulate over time, leading to the emergence of new species.
  • Darwin recognized the significant impact of Lyell’s theories on his own work.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s Theory of Evolution

In his discussion, Hubbard mentions Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French naturalist who proposed his own theory of evolution before Darwin. Although flawed, Lamarck’s theory also portrayed evolution as a process involving the accumulation of changes over time and did not rely on the notion of an intelligent designer.

Impact of Social Beliefs of His Time

A significant aspect that is often overlooked in biology classrooms is how the social beliefs prevalent during Darwin’s time influenced his perspective on the natural world.

  • Bertrand Russell, a philosopher, has highlighted how Darwin’s theory can be viewed as an extension of laissez-faire economics, which advocates for self-interest and free competition in the marketplace.
  • This concept, developed by economist Adam Smith and expanded upon by Thomas Malthus, also included a theory of population from 1798, which suggested that humans compete for scarce resources until a catastrophic event results in a decline in their population.

Malthus’ Ideas of Competition

In his autobiography, Darwin himself acknowledged the significant impact that Malthus’ ideas of competition in a resource-limited environment had on his work. Darwin coined the term “natural selection” to describe the phenomenon where only those living beings possessing advantageous variations are able to survive and outcompete others.

Learning Consequent Use of Darwin’s Theory

The teaching of the theory of evolution often neglects to cover the significant implications and subsequent use of Darwin’s theory, both by himself and others.

  • One example is Herbert Spencer’s concept of “survival of the fittest”, introduced in 1864, which eventually led to the development of a philosophy known as “social Darwinism”.
    • This philosophy played a significant role in promoting eugenics in the late 19th century.
  • In his later work, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Darwin suggested that men have evolved to be more intelligent than women due to the continuous use of their mental faculties while hunting for food and defending their mates and offspring.
    • Notably, this seems to invoke the Lamarckian theory of use and disuse, which Darwin’s theory of natural selection had previously disproven in the Origin.

Why Students Should read These Influences on Darwin’s Theory?

These examples are crucial because they provide important insights into the nature of science both in the past and present. They show that scientific progress is rarely the work of a single individual, but rather a product of the social and cultural beliefs of its time.

  • For instance, several scientific discoveries and inventions during the Second World War were crucial to the development of the atom bomb.
  • Furthermore, these examples serve as a reminder that science is a messy affair, much like any other human endeavour. It requires a balance of caution, curiosity, creativity, and imagination.
  • If the strength of science lies in its ability to withstand critical inquiry, then science classrooms must teach the importance of embracing critique, even if it means confronting its own problematic history.


Although Darwin’s theory should remain a part of our educational curriculum, the way we teach it must change to allow for critical examination of its strengths and weaknesses. This can help confront the problematic aspects of the theory without disregarding its significant contributions to the field of biology.

The Hindu Editorial Analysis, India Needs Public Policy Education

The Hindu Editorial Analysis, India Needs Public Policy Education

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