Gujarat govt promotes extremism and violence in schools: Jesuit
The books are full of myths and falsehoods, superstitions and prejudices, with gross distortions and manipulations - points out Father Cedric Prakash SJ.
With its order to introduce nine text books by Dina Nath Batra in more than 42,000 primary and secondary state schools, the government of Gujarat State is promoting principles of extremism and Hindu nationalism among school children: said Father Cedric Prakash SJ.
Father Prakash is the Director of Prashanti Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace based in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat.
"The books are full of myths and falsehoods, superstitions and prejudices, with gross distortions and manipulations. They propagate fascist ideology that is totally against the heritage of Indian culture, made up of inclusiveness, pluralism and the rights of all," he said.
Batra is the founder of ‘Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti’, a cultural Academy which aims to preserve the Hindu religion and culture. The academy is used as an ideological benchmark by violent groups who promote the ideology of Hindutva in India. These forces, says Father Prakash, "are now aiming at manipulating the public education system".
The books were published (in Gujarati language) in January 2014 and praised by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, present Prime Minister of India. "Frozen until after the election, they are now being introduced into schools," the Jesuit explained.
According to Father Prakash, the texts "promote a racist ideology, thereby violating Articles 28 and 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child." They teach hatred and prejudice toward Westerners, accuse the English language "of having polluted the Indian culture" and subtly denigrate religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians by defining Islam and Christianity "non-Indian religions". The texts have even used derogatory terms like "niggers".
The Jesuits of Prashant invited civil society to "protest strongly" in order not to allow Indian children to be educated according to these distorted and violent principles and ask the government for immediate revocation of the introduction of such texts in public schools.
Source: Agenzia Fides