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'Derogatory' remarks on Nadars hurt TN leaders

Chennai, Nov 16 , 2012, DHNS: 0:35 IST
Jayalalithaa. File Photo
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha on Friday urged the Centre to remove portions of text in a class IX CBSE textbook that allegedly has disparaging references to the Nadar community.

“Many derogatory statements have been made about the Nadar community in Tamil Nadu” in a section of the textbook’s eighth chapter titled “Clothing: A Social History.” A reference has been made to “caste conflict and dress change” that deals with an aspect of the Nadars’ social history, when their women were prohibited from wearing upper garments by the upper castes.

Taking serious objection to those references, Jayalalitha, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said contrary to the information given in the text, “the Nadars are the original inhabitants of the Kanniyakumari district. This was corroborated by ancient Tamil literary texts such as Tholkappiam and Silappathikaram.”

“Moreover, the said text has neglected the struggles of Aiyya Vaikundar in the ‘upper cloth revolt’ and his social reforms,” the chief minister pointed out. Citing other historical references which suggest that the Nadars could “very well be the heirs of the early Pandya kings,” Jayalalitha said it was hence not proper for the text to describe them as “lower caste” people.

Referring to the “commendable achievements” of the Nadars, Jayalalitha urged the prime minister to intervene and advice the ministry concerned to remove “such incorrect and misleading details” about the community. DMK chief M Karunanidhi, in his letter to Singh, condemned the “objectionable references in the textbook” and urged him to direct the authority concerned to “rectify these mistakes at the earliest.” “The Nadars have made great sacrifices in the freedom struggle and it was deplorable that the references in the CBSE textbook have belittled them,” Karunanidhi regretted.

While MDMK leader Vaiko has raised the issue with the central authorities, actor and DMDK leader Vijayakant urged the Centre to delete the references from the textbook published by the NCERT.

CBSE textbook kicks off row

A CBSE textbook has sparked controversy for allegedly insinuating that non-vegetarians lie, cheat and commit crimes, PTI reports from New Delhi. “Sensitivities of communities have to be kept in mind. I think it is unfortunate...what I would request is that the state body should always be on the alert, just like how the NCERT is and monitor the content.

That is what we can advocate from this ministry,” HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju told reporters while replying to queries on the textbook for class VI. The book—titled New Healthway: Health, Hygiene, Physiology, Safety, Sex Education, Games and Exercises—reportedly said non-vegetarians “easily cheat, tell lies, they forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes.”

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