K’taka saffronising school texts: Panel

Jan 17 2013, 09:18 IST
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SummaryTells Centre that lessons in books ‘treat women, Dalits, adivasis and minorities as inferior beings’

Allegations of saffronisation of school textbooks in BJP-ruled Karnataka have reached the Centre with demands for a thorough probe into “academically poor and saffronised textbooks with many a distortion and misrepresentation”.

The Committee for Resisting Saffronisation of Education has submitted a memorandum to the NCERT as well as to Human Resource Development Minister Pallam Raju alleging that the new textbooks released for class V and VIII by the Karnataka Textbook Society are for most part against the spirit of the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and have a “hidden agenda to instill and build up non-secular values, religious fundamentalism and the idea of a Hindu Rashtra in crores of young and impressionable minds”.

The NCERT is learnt to have written to their counterparts in Karnataka on the issue seeking their response on it, sources confirmed.

The committee has in its memorandum — a copy of which is with The Indian Express — said that while the new textbooks have been released by the Karnataka Textbook Society (under the DSERT), these were not subjected to scrutiny by independent or well-known educationists and nor was public opinion invited on them.

The committee has alleged that these books contain lessons that “treat Dalits, women, adivasis and minorities as inferior beings whereas NCF 2005 clearly recommends that the curriculum should be culturally neutral”. It is alleged that history presentation in the textbooks was found “toeing the line of the Sangh Parivar”.

Pointing out specific instances from the class V social science textbook, the committee has said that there is a clear anti-minority bias in content depicting Muslim kings as persecuting Hindu subjects and Hindu kings only fighting Muslim kings. An instance from the class VIII Hindi textbook refers to a lesson on ‘Punyakoti’ where a tiger takes an oath saying that “consumption of cow’s meat is a bad thought; henceforth, I will not eat cow’s meat”, whereas the original Kannada version mentions no such oath.

Demanding that the school textbooks be offered for scrutiny by the NCERT, the committee has suggested that the Karnataka Textbook Society, when preparing new textbooks, should consult its counterparts in Kerala who are considered experts in the field and invite suggestions from eminent educationists and the public.

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