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'Bias' against minorities in class 6 textbook, pvt panel alleges

Bangalore, Ramzauva Chhakchhuak, Sep 30, 2013, DHNS: 23:55 IST
A one-man commission, formed by minority groups, has found many instances of “saffronisation” and “bias” against minority communities in social science textbook prescribed for class 6 in the State.

The Karnataka Textbook Society (KTS), which prepared the syllabus, has asserted that “If each and every group would have a say, textbooks would run into 800 to 1,000 pages each.”

The alleged instances have been found mostly in the history and civics sections of the said textbook, and compiled into a report by Francis D’Souza, a research scholar at Kuvempu University, Shimoga.

D’Souza was assigned the job by the Committee for Resisting Saffronisation of Textbooks, a group whose members include Suresh Bhat Bakrabail, Muhammed Kakkinje and Victor D’Silva of Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, Sr Rose Celine of Bethany Educational Society and Walter Maben of Karnataka Missions Network. 
Various other activists, academicians and representatives from other minority
communities are part of the committee.

‘Distorted’ history


In the first chapter in the history section (first semester) titled ‘Bharatha Matthu Horaprapancha’ (India and the outside world), “Jesus Christ has been addressed with singular pronouns like ‘janisidanu (was born), helidanu (he said), and madidanu (he did), etc. No other saint, religious figure or prophet has been described in such a language, the report says.

A chapter on Delhi Sultanate has passages (page 45-51) which “strengthen negative stereotypes” about Muslims and Muslim rulers. The report quotes, “...these invasions aimed at looting the wealth, acquiring territories and spreading Islamism...” and other passages in support of the allegation.

It has also objected to the portrait of Razia Sultana (page 48) as being “ugly” and “almost bare”. The brief mention (just three lines) of the Delhi ruler is also “highly inappropriate”.

In the second semester of the history section, the report has highlighted many “flaws” so far as representation of minorities is concerned.

No sensitivity has been shown in this regard as per the guidelines of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005, according to the report. “While depicting the history of Kodagu, only wars of Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali and British have been highlighted without much mention of their culture and contributions to fields other than the Army,” it notes.

As for the history of Tulunadu (coastal Karnataka) (page 66), the contributions of Christians have not been mentioned, the report adds.

Moreover, while many Hindu temples and Jain basadis are mentioned along with pictures, there is no mention of any church or mosque. The “persecution” of Hindus and growth of Urdu language have been portrayed negatively in the chapter on the history of Hyderabad Karnataka (page 73).

While six pages have been devoted to the battlefield adventures of 17th-century Maratha ruler, Shivaji, the Wadeyars of Mysore have got just three.

‘Selective’ mention


In the civics section (first semester), places such as Hampi, Belur, Halebidu and Pattadakal have been mentioned while explaining the need to protect places of historical importance. No such places of importance to Muslim, Christian or other minorities, however, are mentioned, according to the report.

A section on ‘Unity In Diversity’ (second semester, page 98) does not mention non-Vedic traditions and beliefs — Christianity, Islam and other religions and their co-existence but only Ramayana and Mahabharatha find mention, the report says.
In another section called ‘Celebrations’ (page 107), while three lines have been devoted to the birth anniversaries of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, B R Ambedkar and Jawarharlal Nehru, half-a-page has been reserved for that of Swami Vivekananda.
G S Mudambaditya, Chief Coordinator, Textbook Committee, which is part of KTS, said that according to NCF, 2005, students and teachers have been asked to go beyond the syllabus and they are free to take their own references and find out more about the topics.

“The ICSE and CBSE also follow the NCF, 2005, but there are no complaints against them. If each and every group were given a say, textbooks would run into 800 to 1,000 pages each,” he said.

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