The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005, recommends that children's life at school must be linked to their life outside the school. This principle marks a departure from the legacy of bookish learning which continues to shape our system and causes a gap between the school, home and community. The syllabi and textbooks developed on the basis of NCF signify an attempt to implement this basic idea. They also attempt to discourage rote learning and the maintenance of sharp boundaries between different subject areas. We hope these measures will take us significantly further in the direction of a child-centred system of education outlined in the National Policy on Education (1986).
The success of this effort depends on the steps that school principals and teachers will take to encourage children to reflect on their own learning and to pursue imaginative activities and questions. We must recognise that given space, time and freedom, children generate. new knowledge by engaging with the information passed on to them by adults. Treating the prescribed textbook as the sole basis of examination is one of the key reasons why other resources and sites of learning are ignored. Inculcating creativity and initiative is possible if we perceive and treat children as participants in learning, not as receivers of a fixed body of knowledge.
These aims imply considerable change in school routines and mode of functioning. Flexibility in the daily timetable is as necessary as rigour in implementing the annual calendar so that the required number of teaching days is actually devoted to teaching. The methods used for teaching and evaluation will also determine how effective this textbook proves for making children's life at school a happy experience, rather than a source of stress or boredom. Syllabus designers have tried to address the problem of curricular burden by restructuring and reorienting knowledge at different stages with greater consideration for child psychology and the time available for teaching. The textbook attempts to enhance this endeavour by giving higher priority and space to opportunities for contemplation and wondering, discussion in small groups, and activities requiring hands-on experience.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) appreciates the hard work done by the textbook development committee responsible for this book. We wish to thank the Chairperson of the advisory group in Social Sciences, Professor Hari Vasudevan, the Chief Advisors, Professor Yogendra Yadav and Professor Suhas Palshikar and the Advisor, Professor Kanti Bajpai for guiding the work of this committee. Several teachers contributed to the development of this textbook; we are grateful to their principals for making this possible. We are indebted to the institutions and organisations which have generously permitted us to draw upon their resources, material and personnel. We are especially grateful to the members of the National Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development under the Chairpersonship of Professor Mrinal Miri and Professor G .P. Deshpande, for their valuable time and contribution. As an organisation committed to system reform and continuous improvement in the quality of its products, NCERT welcomes comments and suggestions which will enable us to undertake further and refinement.
Contemporary World Politics is part of the NCERTs effort to help students understand polities. Other books for students of Political Science in Classes XI and XII deal with various facets of politics-the Indian Constitution, politics in India, and political theory. Contemporary World Politic« enlarges the scope of politics to the world stage.
The new Political Science syllabus has finally given space to world politics. This is a vital development. As India becomes more prominent in international politics and as events outside the country influence our lives and choices, we need to know more about the world outside. International affairs are discussed with great passion in India, but not always with sufficient understanding. We tend to rely on the daily newspaper, television, and casual conversation for our knowledge of how the world works. We hope this book will help students comprehend what is happening outside and India's relations with it.
Before we go any further. It is necessary to say something about why the book is titled 'world politics, rather than the more traditional 'international politics' or international relations'. In this world the relationship between governments of different country s. or what we call international politics or international relations, is of course crucial. In addition though there are vital connections between governments, non-government institutions and ordinary people. These are often referred to as transnational relations. To understand the world, it is not possible any longer to understand only the links between governments. It is necessary to understand what happens across boundaries also—and governments are not the only agents of what happens.
In addition world politics includes politics within other countries, understood in comparative perspective. For instance the chapter on events in the "second world" of the communist countries after the Cold War deals with internal developments in this region: The South Asia chapter presents the state of democracy amongst India's neighbours. This is the field of comparative politics.
The book is concerned with world politics as it is today, more or less. It does not deal with world polities through the 19th or 20th centuries. The politics of those eras is dealt with in the History textbooks. We deal with the 20th century only to the extent that it is the background to present events and trends. For instance, we begin with the Cold War because it is impossible to comprehend where we are today without an understanding or what the Cold War was and how it ended.
How should you use this book? Our hope is that this book will serve as an introduction to world politics. Teachers and students will use the book as a springboard to find out more about contemporary world politics. Each chapter will give you a certain amount of information. It will also though give you some useful concepts with which to understand the world: the Cold War: the notion of hegemony: international organisations: national security and human security: environmental security: globalisation: and so on.
Each chapter begins with an overview to quickly give you an idea of what to expect. Each chapter also has maps, tables graphics boxes cartoons and other illustrations to enliven your reading and to get you to reflect on world politics by provoking, challenging, or amusing you. The characters—Unni and Munni, introduced in earlier books, reappear. They ask their innocent, often mischievous, frequently probing questions. The chapters have suggestions on group activity ("Let's Do It Together")-collecting materials together, solving an international problem, making you negotiate as if you were a diplomat. Then there are the "plus boxes" which provide information not so much for tests and examination questions but rather to fill out knowledge, to summarise information that would burden the text, and, sometimes, to urge you to think further about the subject. The exercises at the end of each chapter should help review materials that you have read and take you beyond what has been said in the chapter.
You will notice also that the book is filled with maps. It is difficult if not impossible to understand world politics without a sense of where various places are located, who lives next door to whom, where boundaries, rivers, and other political and geographical features are in relation to each other. We have, therefore, been quite liberal in providing maps. These maps are to help orient you, to visualise the political and geographical spaces that you read about. They are not intended to be things you have to draw and memorise for tests!
This brings us to a crucial point about how to use the book. We have made a conscious effort not to load you down with information-with names, dates, events. We have tried to keep these to a minimum. The idea is not for you to become an expert on world politics but instead to begin to grapple with the complexity and urgency of this new world around us. At the same time, should you wish to know more about world politics, you can consult the various sources mentioned separately under, "If you want to read more.
If the book succeeds in stimulating you, in making you ask even more questions than we have posed for you, and in making you impatient with what you have read here, then we have succeeded I We sincerely hope that you will like this book and find it engaging and useful.
We are grateful to Professor Krishna Kumar, Director, NCERT, for his support and guidance in the preparation of this book. He encouraged us in making this book as student-friendly as possible. He also patiently waited for the final draft of the book.
Contemporary World Politics would not have been possible without the valuable time and academic expertise of the members of the Textbook Development Committee. Each of the members gave us their precious time and set aside prior commitments at various junctures. Professor Sanjay Chaturvedi and Dr. Siddharth Mallavarapu deserve our special thanks for their help in selecting maps and in editing the text. We are grateful for the devotion and sincerity of Dr. M. V. S. V. Prasad, the coordinator of this textbook from the NCERT, as also Mr. Alex M. George and Mr. Pankaj Pushkar who worked day and night to ensure the quality of the text, the authenticity of the contents, and above all, the readability of this book. Ms. Padmavathi worked on all the exercises. The designer of this book, Ms. Shweta Rao, gave the book the attractive look and feel that it has. Without their unstinting and creative help, we could not have produced the book in its present form.
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