Friday, June 27, 2008

Textbook Row Heats Up in Kerala

I have to admit, that I had to look up Kerala, because I had no idea where it was. Sorry. Pretending my readers are as ignorant as I am, Kerala is a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India.

A textbook that allegedly tries to inject Communism into pupils has rallied disparate forces against the Left Democratic Front Government in Kerala.

The Church, the Muslim League and the Nair Service Society allege that large portions of the book belie an attempt by the Left to instill atheism into young impressionable minds. They also fear the book, which cites incidents of bygone caste cruelties, will sow seeds of communal discontent.

The ire has been targeted at a chapter titled “No Religion for Jeevan”, patently advising children not to enter their religion in the registers. As shown in the excerpt, an inter-caste couple is enrolling their child at school and insists that the columns against the child’s religion and caste be left blank.

The Congress-led Opposition United Democratic Front, the Church and Muslim organizations have demanded the immediate withdrawal of the controversial Social Studies book in the seventh standard under the Kerala syllabus.

For the past week, pro-UDF student activists have been out in the streets, attacking the police, burning textbook bundles and damaging public property. The arrested Kerala Student Union leaders have a launched a fast in the jail.

Read entire article here.

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