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'Saffronisation' in science books too: Panel

Bangalore, Oct 3, 2013, dhns: 1:03 IST
Dronacharya from Mahabharata was a test tube baby born 7,500 years ago according to the State’s class 9 science textbook for this year.

The tale of the birth of Dronacharya has in fact been used to elaborate a portion on ‘assisted reproductive system’ (page 208) in the textbook. A portion in page 209 of the textbook reads, “One day Bharadwaja went to the Ganges for a bath, he saw a beautiful apsara named Ghritachi. He was overcome by desire, causing him to ejaculate.

Bharadwaja captured the fluid in an earthen pot (drone) from which drone was born and got his name.” This tale comes under a heading titled, ‘Test Tube Babies in Ancient India’.
The Committee for Resisting Saffronisation in Textbooks, formed by various minority groups, has compiled a report which points out such instances of alleged saffronisation and errors in class IX science textbooks of this year.

The report also highlights several ‘irrelevant’ Sanskrit quotes at the end of various chapters of the textbook. In a chapter titled ‘Life Processes’ (page 159), an explanation on blood circulation is accompanied by two lines from Sangeetha Rathnakara. A quote from Charakasamhita has been given as an introduction before the portion on ‘Reproduction in Human Beings’. In another example, a chapter on ‘Reproduction in Animals’ (page 204), a quote of Swami Vivekananda appears after an explanation on the predetermination of the sex of a growing foetus. The report notes that such quotes of Swami Vivekananda “are found after most lessons.”

G S Mudambaditya, chief coordinator, Textbook Committee, said: “My chairperson told me that the birth of Drona has been published in a foreign journal and the person who wrote the article is being contacted. Apart from that I cannot comment without talking to him,” he said. On the need for Sanskrit quotes in science chapters, Mudambaditya said that it was due to the need for an ‘integrated approach’ to Science. “Science has been taught only as a subject for examination. However there is a need to go beyond that and integrate values with science.”

The report also alleges similar tendencies even in Social Science textbooks of the same class. The date of Jesus Christ’s death has been wrongly mentioned as April 7, Friday, 30 AD, the report alleges.

It also alleges that while elaborate accounts have been given about the immoral behaviour of the Catholic Church, mere mention has been made of the caste system and untouchability.

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