In what could reignite the debate on getting a thorough check on school books for students, an illustration in a science textbook for Class 6 in some schools run by the ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) Board has shown “mosque” as a source of noise pollution. Along with train, car, plane, a mosque has been shown with symbols denoting loud sound.
However, defending itself, the ICSE said that these books were not published by the board. “If any book with objectionable content is being taught at certain schools, it is for schools and publisher to ensure such a thing does not happen,” Chief executive and secretary of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations Gerry Arathoon was quoted as saying.
The publisher has taken note of the mistake and apologised for the same. He has also assured that the illustration will be taken off from the new books that will be published. Hemant Gupta of Selina Publishers said: “We do apologise if it has hurt the sentiments of anyone. This is to inform all concerned that we will be changing
the picture in subsequent editions of the book.”
The picture with a man grimacing and shutting his ears was shared widely on social media and an online petition had been launched demanding the book to be withdrawn.
The controversy comes close on heels to the controversy where singer Sonu Nigam had tweeted against the use of loudspeakers at mosques for “azaan” – call for prayers. To prove a point to his detractors, he had even shaved his head in response to a “fatwa” issued by a Muslim cleric.
This is not the first incident where issues of objectionable content in school books have come to light. Last month, a controversy erupted after a Class 9 Hindi textbook was found to refer to Jesus Christ as a demon. Earlier in April, a Class 12 textbook on physical education had suggested that 36-24-36 are ideal feminine proportions.
Just to educate students on the importance of breathing, a Class 4 Environmental Studies textbook had given a practical example which showed how children can suffocate a cat to death. A book had also said that meat-eaters cheat, lie and commit sex crimes.
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