By Mayank Jain:
What if your child’s sixth standard textbook is teaching him/her that non vegetarians are sinners? What if the government prescribed textbooks are preaching children about the importance of marriage and how getting married without a ‘bad name’ is the dream of every girl?
Apparently, they are.
Some shocking, and at the same time horrifying excerpts from the textbooks of primary schools of India have emerged in reportsÂ online. These passages manage to shatter any faith left in the primary education given at various schools in Gujarat and Rajasthan. How wrong could state education commissions go in preparing texts for impressionable minds who go to schools looking for ‘education’? Quite heavily- if this text from a book by Dina Nath Batra (which is now a reference book for students) is anything to go by:
“(The Indian map should include) ‘countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma’ (as it’s all a) ‘part of Akhand Bharat… Undivided India is the truth, divided India is a lie. Division of India is unnatural and it can be united again…”
Apparently, the idea of undivided India will take its own sweet time to exit the mind of this academicianÂ who considers it is possible to reunite most south Asian countries into an Indian subcontinent. The objective behind such passages in the book is likely to evoke a nationalistic feeling in the hearts and minds of impressionable children who can grow up to be jingoistsÂ and deny the existence of other countries as independent states, much like we see in politicians of today fighting forÂ a ‘viraat hindu rashtra’.
The prospects of teaching this disastrous geography to students withÂ ‘facts’ like existence of Akhand Bharat are scary enough, but some other books have taken to blatant lies instead of just misrepresentation. Children are learning about the existence of motor cars during Vedic times and these mythical texts are being passed off as ‘facts’. On page number 60 of his book Tejomay Bharat, Batra claims:
“What we know today as the motorcar existed during the Vedic period. It was called anashva rath. Usually a rath (chariot) is pulled by horses but an anashva rath means the one that runs without horses or yantra-rath, what is today a motorcar. The Rig Veda refers to this…”
“Indians asÂ rightly cooked rotis”
“Once Dr Radhakrishnan went for a dinner. There was a Briton at the event who said, ‘We are very dear to God’. Radhakrishnan laughed and told the gathering, “Friends, one day God felt like making rotis. When he was cooking the rotis, the first one was cooked less and the English were born. The second one stayed longer on the fire and the Negroes were born. Alert after His first two mistakes, when God went on to cook the third roti, it came out just right and as a result Indians were born.”
This horribly racist story has been in the textbooks which defames our first vice president as a man with some narcissistic sense of humour. The quote teaches the supremacy of Indian ‘race’ because we are one of the better cooked chapattis by God. It is downrightÂ racistÂ and far from harmless.
Among other such ‘facts’, there are passages about the invention of Television during the time of Mahabharata when Sanjay gave a live telecast of the battle to a blind Dhritrashtra. J.L. Baird who actually invented the television in 1926 must be shifting in his grave and cringing at the thought of his invention discredited in favour of a mythical text that goes 5,000 years back.
“There is no doubt that the invention of television goes back to this… In Mahabharata, Sanjaya sitting inside a palace in Hastinapur and using his divya shakti would give a live telecast of the battle of Mahabharata… to the blind Dhritarashtra”– Page 64
The infiltration of textbooks by elements far removed from educational research is not new. RSS’s own body called Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan (VBABSS) was established in 1978. VBASS is assigned with the task of using the educational system to lay down the foundation of its rich roots in the minds of children and has continued to do so.
Comparing housewives to donkeys
When we see misogynistic statements online or sexist comments on the streets, we might know whom to blame. Textbooks in some schools of Rajasthan have went as far ahead as likening donkeys to housewives and reiterating that a donkey is better than housewives because it won’t run away to its parents and will always be ‘loyal to its master’.
“A donkey is like a housewife… It has to toil all day, and, like her, may even have to give up food and water. In fact, the donkey is a shade better… for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents’ home, you’ll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master.”
14-year-olds in Rajasthan are effectively being taught that a housewife is worse than a donkey. They are also warned that a housewife might have to give up food and water to fulfil her ‘duties’. This horrid passage not only reflects the shallowness of those who created it but also the fact that Indian education reforms are going to be a lie if primary textbooks remain the same.
Hitler was a strong administrator
“Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time, establishing a strong administrative set-up.”
A complete chapter called ‘Internal Achievements of Nazism’ in Gujarati textbooks rubbishes the Holocaust and goes on to project Hitler as an able administrator who was a ‘true leader’. The genocides, mass killings and concentration camps of Nazis have been replaced with the glorification of a Nazi authority in the minds of 13-15 year olds.
With the nationalistic feelings in place, a task in hand to reunite ‘akhand bharat’ which also includes Afghanistan, a clear discourse on housewives’ position being worse than donkeys and Hitler’s genocides being exonerated, the polity of the country has finally managed to impart its rich values to the children. The much awaited ‘modernization’ of education is only a few steps away from their predefined goal:
“Modernisation of education should not mean westernisation, but Indianisation.” Page 8, Shikshan Nu Bharatiyakaran
To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter atÂ @mayank1029