Hazir (meaning presence) changed to Khizr (which means a leader who shows people the right way), sarisht (nature) has been translated to mean “worship”.
These are a few examples of glaring errors in the state’s Urdu textbooks for Classes 10 and 12 this year. While there are 685 errors in Class 12 textbooks, the figure stands at 261 for Class 10.
“It is with great disappointment and anguish that we bring to your notice the shocking and unbelievable number of errors that are found in “Kumar Bharti”, the first language textbook of Class 10 and “Yuvak Bharti”, the Urdu textbook of Class 12. This will directly affect the performance of students in the 10th and 12th Board exams. We request the state to intervene urgently and take immediate corrective measures,” says a letter, dated August 14, written by the Urdu Headmasters’ Association (Mumbai division) to the state government.
A state board official said the mistakes would be rectified in the new edition of the books next session.
According to Dr Shafi Shaikh, former head of Arabic department at Mumbai University, the errors relate to punctuation, spellings, facts, grammar, names of places, poets, poems, books and magazines, etc.
These textbooks were published recently for the 2013-14 academic year.
“Biradari (community) has been altered to bardari (carrying). In Persian, we have a word called kan (digger, as Gor kan = digger of a grave), which has been changed to kun (doer). In one place, the first battle fought during the Prophet’s time has been stated as the second battle. Names of places are wrong. For instance, Chhapra is spelled as Chabhrah and Mubarakpur as Mubarak. They have changed names of writers like Mohammad Saud to Mohammad Masood. These are shameful and negligent errors,” said Shaikh.
Texts in the writings of renowned writers have also been changed, he said. “For instance, they have made their own changes in the couplets of famous poets like Meer and Zauq and made their own alterations in prose writings. Again, in Urdu, there are particular signs placed over the pen names (takhallus) of poets. But instead, they have put these on the surnames or on the their native places. There are instances where they have attributed the sign of a poet’s pen name to that of a prose writer (like Manto who is a prose writer). In some, the signs are totally missing from the pen-names of the poets,” said Shaikh.
In January this year, he along with some educationists had pointed out over 100 errors in Urdu higher-level textbooks of Class 9 to the state and had asked them to withdraw the faulty books and put a check on the Board of Studies since the textbooks for Classes 10 & 12 were under preparation. “Instead, they published a revised version of Class 9, which still has many errors. We told the state government that the same Board of Studies was in charge of Class 10 & 12 textbooks and the government must be cautious. But, to our dismay, no action was taken against the Board members and the result was shoddy and irresponsible work in case of Class 10 and 12 books, having more than 950 errors,” said Shaikh.
With no response from the state yet, the Association has already printed booklets for Class 10 and 12, which contain details of the errors, the corrected version, with lessons and page numbers. The books are being circulated to all Urdu-teaching schools and junior colleges across the state.