A Class 9 textbook for Hindi published by the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB) refers to Jesus Christ as a ‘demon’. With this, the board has shot itself in the foot once again. Following the controversy, the state education minister has said that the error will be rectified soon while the GSSTB chairman said the mistake was caused by a misprint.
According to reports, the reference to Jesus Christ as a demon is made in chapter 16 of the book titled “Bharatiya Sanskriti Mein Guru-Shishya Sambandh”. This translates to the “relationship between a guru and his disciples in Indian culture”.
On page 70, the line referring to Jesus Christ reads – “Iss sambandh mein ‘haivan’ (demon) Isa (Jesus) ka ek kathan sadaa smaraniya hain,” (It means that in this context, an incident of demon Jesus will always be remembered).
According to a News18 report, advocate Subramaniam Iyer, who noticed the mistake, says that the error attracts section 295 (a) of the IPC, which pertains to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class.
GSSTB chairman Nitin Pethani has said that it was a typographical error. “The word “haiva”, a disciple of Jesus Christ, got misprinted as “haivan”, meaning a demon.”
The issue has created an uproar among the Christian community, which has demanded the withdrawal of the textbook.
This is not the first time that errors have been pointed out in school textbooks published by the GSSTB. The class 4 Environment textbook, under topic ‘Our Surroundings’ in chapter ‘Love for Nation’, mentions Jana Gana Mana as a national song instead of national anthem.