In Gujarat textbooks, fact is stranger than fiction!

Govt forms panel to look into the bloopers that appear in textbooks

In Gujarat textbooks, fact is stranger than fiction!

* Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on October 30, 1948 

*Japan launched a nuclear attack on the United States during World War II 

* A new country named Islamic Islamabad was constituted after the Partition with its capital Khyber Ghat in the Hindukush mountains 

* All South Indians are Madrasis

Wondering where such statements are doing the rounds? These are but a few erroneous ‘facts’ that students in Gujarat are learning from their textbooks this year. 

The Gujarat government has now set up a panel to look into such bloopers that appear in textbooks used by almost 50,000 English-medium primary schools of the state. 

The panel of experts, drawn from private schools, will first review and revise social science textbooks of upper primary schools. A similar exercise will be undertaken for English and science textbooks, besides others, later on. 

In the social science textbook for Class VIII, there are statements such as — People in east India wear clothes above the ankle as there is more rainfall; ladies wear sari in a peculiar manner. It also mentions that a majority of people in the eastern part of India reside in “houses made of wood and bamboo”. Moreover, “idli and dosa are famous in south India; Madrasi food is very famous” — also appear in the said textbook. 

In another reference, the textbook goes on to club the Puri Rath Yatra among the south Indian festivals, attributing Onam and Diwali to Kerala, while also terming Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi as ‘festivals’ of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.

Meanwhile, the English language textbooks are a clear case of ‘lost in translation’. The textbooks, translated poorly from Gujarati to English, throw up quite a few stunners. A case in point: The Class VI textbook has the following paragraph — You might have heared, read and seen that the Earth is round. Whereas, you stay on the Earth, you can not come to know the shape of Earth; because the Earth is too much vast. Why we do not feel that the Earth is round? Is the Earth really To whom it is like? Just imagine, round? The Moon-uncle is telling. Come on to my surface and see from the edge. The travellers of the space had taken the photographs of the Earth from the space.  

In damage control mode, Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma said that the problems have been pointed out and the government was taking steps to rectify them. “We have already constituted a committee of experts to rectify the mistakes and replace them with facts,” he said. 

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