Kerala school book triggers protests

June 13th, 2008 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, June 13 (IANS) A social studies textbook for Class VII in Kerala has sparked protests, with some saying it is promoting atheism and others questioning its treatment of national leaders. Both the Kerala Students Union (KSU), which is linked to the Congress party, and the Sunni Students Federation (SSF) are up in arms against the book issued by the education department.

The SSF says that the second chapter of the book promotes the idea that there is no need for religion.

“The government does not promote any religion using public funds. The same way the government should desist from propagating irreligious ideas,” said Syed Muhammed Turab Thangal, the state president of SSF.

The SSF is also offended by the portrayal of Vakkom Abdul Khader Maulavi, a Muslim social reformer of the early last century, as a renaissance leader.

The KSU’s grievances are over the portrayal of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

“There is no mention of important people from Kerala like Ayyankali, Sree Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamikal. The book has a picture of Gandhiji, but a disfigured one at that,” said Hybi Eden, the state president of KSU.

The KSU Wednesday burnt pages from the book. On Thursday, the SSF held state-wide protest marches.

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