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Gujarat school text teaches hate
By Rajeev Khanna

New Delhi, May 7: The school curriculum in Gujarat has played a role in promoting hatred amongst various communities. Some of the textbooks published and prescribed by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks do substantial damage to the basic values of fraternity enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

The recent report of the Editors’ Guild fact-finding team, while referring to the Social Studies book for Class 9, points out, ‘Chapter 9 is on the ‘Problems of the Country and Their Solution’. The very first section (problem?) is ‘minority community’ (page 93). Children are told that ‘apart from the Muslims, even the Christians, Parsees and other foreigners are also recognised as the minority communities. In most of the states, the Hindus are in a minority and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are a majority in these respective states (sic)’. So the Class 9 child is told that Muslims and Christians are foreigners and that Hindus are in a minority in most states’. 

The report says reform measures are suggested for the minority community alongside their economic progress. "But things can go wrong and lead to communal violence. Therefore a special riot police force should be raised to tackle such explosive situations" and "Victims of communal violence also should be properly compensated…" it quotes the next book as saying.

"Here, children are being suggestively told of the perils of communal violence almost as part of everyday life," the Editors’ Guild report says. 

There is reportedly another section in the Class 9 text book on ‘Problems of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (page 94)’. The text book says, ‘They have not been suitably placed in our social order, therefore, even after Independence they are still backward and poor. Of course, their ignorance, illiteracy and blind faith are to be blamed for lack of progress because they still fail to realise the importance of education in life’. The report says here, ‘The message: Scheduled Castes and Tribes have only themselves to blame for their sorry plight. The sections on Women and Anti-Social Activities are no more inspiring’. 

After the reported question in the English question paper for Class 12 which asked the student to remove "if" from the sentence "If you don’t like people kill them", the team has drawn attention to another equally controversial question asking students to rewrite a short passage as a single sentence. ‘The passage read: ‘There are two solutions. One of them is the Nazi solution. If you don’t like people, kill them, segregate them. Then strut up and down. Proclaim that you are salt of the earth’. The consternation this singularly insensitive question understandably aroused was sought to be assuaged by an official explanation that the passage was culled from EM Forester’s Tolerance, a prescribed text, and that the question paper was set last September by a ‘minority teacher," the Editors’ Guild report says. (Asian Age, 8 May 2002)

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