www.sacw.net   > Educating to Hate - 17 January 2007

Centre for Study of Society and Secularism
Report of National Consultation on Minorities and Biases in Text Books
13 - 14 January 2007

Venue:     USO House
                  USO Road - Jeet Singh Marg
                  Qutub Institutional Area
                  New Delhi

Time  -  10.30 a.m. To 5.30 p.m.


Date  -  13th January 2007

Members Present -  Mr Hamid Ansari, Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, Prof Imtiaz Ahmed, Mr Jimmy Dabhi,Vinod Raina, Prof Ranu Jain, Prof Ashok Anshuman , Mr Khalid Ansari, Mr Achyut Yagnik, Mr Vibhuti Narain Rai, Prof Hasan Mansoor, Mr Tayeb Khan, Justice P K Shamshuddin, , Ms Salcha Begum, Mr Ajay Kumar, Mr Apoorva Anand, Ms Purva Bharadwaj, Prof T K Oomen, Mr Hasan Mansoor, Mr L S Hardenia, Ms Muniza Khan, Ms Suchitra Seth, Mr Chand Peer, Mr Shirish Hardenia, , Mr Seraj Hasan, Mr Mansoor Ali, Mr Aftab Alam, Mr Rakesh, Prof Qamar Agha, Meera Mishra, Vyas Ji, Mr Ravindra Roy Mr Munshi, Bader Jehan, Bella Das    

CHIEF GUEST- Md Hamid Ansari - Chariman National Minority Commission.

The meeting started by Prof Qamar Agha welcoming the participants of the workshop. Following which Dr Asghar Ali Engineer welcomed the guest and opened the topic of the National Consultation.

He said that education controls the mind of the people and hence was very important.   But unfortunately textbooks were full of biases against the minorities and  were not written scientifically and objectively and hence bringing about  reform in the text books are very important. Stating the example of Sarawati Sishu Mandir he mentioned that the  scenario of the non government schools was getting worse. These schools produced thousands of students with a communal mindset. He also spoke of the detoxification of the textbooks.

Hamid Ansari in his inaugural speech said that in a diverse society like India what needed to be addressed is the reality. He said that society is diverse and hence the concept of group rights have emerged. In the Indian society there is certain opaqueness. He further stated that even if we could bring about an improvement in the level of awareness of the people then we could say we have moved one step towards improvement.

He said that the two point on which we should focus was-

1-The requirement of the secular creed.
2-Requirement of the homogenous society.

He mentioned that the biggest challenge was to bring about a balance in the group identity and the individual identity. He emphasized the importance of the federal units and the responsibility that it had towards making the content of the text books. He also touched upon the role of the media and the elected representatives. He said that today the education had become an industry in the country which was very lucrative and there were no schools without the influence of a political party and what was also needed was the correction of the approach in education.

Dr Asghar Ali Engineer

He mentioned that education was the most important intellectual investment and without with out which it will be come difficult for a diverse country like India to survive. He highlighted the problem of the education as how the political condition affected the content of the NCERT books.  The problems at the Centre and the State had to be dealt with.

Mr Apoorvanand -  He said that a lot of complexity were involved as far as the NCERT was concerned. He also mentioned the importance of looking into the process  of the formation of the textbooks.  He mentioned 1977 as being the landmark period when the Janata Party came into power  when the problem with the text books increased.

He stated that two spheres where interventions were needed  -

Problems related to text books
And discussion on the state specific textbooks

Vinod Raina  -He began by talking about how Eklavya got involved in working with education in MP. He spoke of the communalization of child's mind through text books.  He mentioned about how only 3% children used NCERT Books and 97% children were out of the reach of NCERT. He further said that NCERT was not a statutory body and had played the role of an academic body so State Govt had the option of not accepting it. He spoke of the national council for teachers which was a statutory body and hence attention should be given to it. He said that merely the content was not important but the pedagogy was important too. Methodology for child's education as well as adult education were different and hence the methodology of education was an equally important factor which ought to be looked into.

·        He suggested that it was of vital importance to create a critical thinking of the child and not merely look to the content of education.   He said that it was important to encourage the children  to see for themselves  rather than interpretation of the content.

·         He said that we should examine the text books in the larger pedagogy by someone else.
·         He also suggested regulatory mechanism by CABE.

Mr Raina said that education was a technical subject as far as the child was concerned

He also spoke on the report of the 1993 analysis report of Bipan Chandra and opined that the Gaurav Gatha series ought to be totally banned.

Problems faced were three fold according to him -

1-     Within the government system
2-     Within the civil society
3-     Within the political system

And each had to be tackled at different levels.

He said that the most important was to raise the concerns of critical thinking.

Muniza Khan : - She shared information, on the study that her institute had done in Azamgarh where the team had visited the Sishumandir. Findings showed that the text books were traditional and were not progressive and were not communal . Girls did not wear Burkhas but in the rooms there was a  division by a Chaddar ( bed sheet) between the teacher and the students. In many Madarsas she said that there existed a feeling of insecurity - mostly of terrorism. Parents wanted to send the children to the missionary schools  because of this very reason but they could not afford and had to take Madarsa as an option and not compulsion .

Problems faced by the Madarsas were-

1-     Lack of funds
2-     Unrecognized status of the Madarsas.
3-     Madarsas were run by Zakat

Suggestion- She suggested that teachers training was vitally important as they did not even know the meaning of Secularism nor did they show any inclination towards learning about it.

T K Oomen- Mr Oomen said that the  future of India depended upon shaping the contents of the text books.  He said that one should look at the problem from a larger angle. He highlighted the points mentioned in  Zoya Hasan and Gopalguru report  some of which were

Focus on the report on Education by Zoya Hasan and Gopal Guru and the biases as I categorise them from the report.

Urban and rural - India against bharat,
Patriarchy Vs gender just,
Upper caste, Brahminical vs Dalits, Tribals and other backward communities,
ignoring religious minorities such as Jains, Jews, Buddhists, Adivasis, and externalisation of Christians and Muslims
Privileging the mythology and therefore driving away the abstract nature of knowledge.
India having just one singular past history and relegating the medieval history,
Distorting the Constitution of India and projecting Hindu nation
 No recognition of environment concerns,

By and large the text books provide the world view of the high caste Hindu man. Ooman said that one of the anthropologist said that "Indian sociology is Brahminology".

The root problem of the biases may be said is in our perception of India as 'nation state' which is very western and not possible in India as it means one nation, one people and one culture. We need a notion of national state where diverse people, diverse culture and diverse regions. We have 24 recognised languages, no one religion. Pluralism is an attitude we need and we do not have. We need a national state where diversity is celebrated.

The text books are reflecting the problem and not creating one.

Imtiaz Ahmed :

I read in my text book as a child "Krishna Bhagwan Hai" and I read it as "Krishna Hinduon ka bhagvan hai". As a child he translated the text as children and teachers do it.  He said that education is an instrument of social transformation but it is also instrument of reproduction of socialisation/knowledge etc.

We may replace the non-secular with secular text. The communal bias has to be replaced by the authors' bias. So do we want texts replaced or the mind-set replaces?

Text books are not interactive and therefore mediation is missed out. Teacher could remove the bias and provide alternatives, alternative interpretations

He emphasized that one should understand the meaning of a Nation State where diversity was celebrated. He said that one cannot produce a textbook in any society where there is so much diversity and the present text books reflected that.

We should talk of inclusive education today.

1-Develop critical thinking amongst children
2-Development of  comparative study.

L.S Hardenia - Stating examples of school like the Sishu Madir he stated that they projected unrealistic facts eg about Hindu icons like Govalkar , Savalkar, Shivaji etc. other examples  cited were  NCERT books eg- of Gandhi's assassination - Gandhi's killer as Godse but the reason for his killing was devoid of being mentioned leaving scope for imagination and interpretation  of the children . Ram temple being made by Luv and Kush in Ayodhya . Unscientific things finding place in the text books like  'Dooms day' India being the most ancient country in the world. Myths like- Islam was spread at the point of sword and Christianity being associated with conversion. He also spoke of text book supplementary material which ought to be banned in Madhya Pradesh. He  mentioned that he had approached Digvijay Singh to remove provocative information from the text books.

Jimmy Dhabi - Speaking of his experience  with the primary school text books he said that the biases in text book clearly reflected  psycho social effect on children. He said that two factors which ought to be looked into were -

1.    What is taught
2.    Who teaches
3.    Who controls the educational institutions
4.    Pedagogy - how is it taught
5.    In what environment (socio-economic and political)

He said that education should be such which encourages critical consciousnesses. He said that one should look from the perspective of the subalterns.

Achyut Yagnik : He said that the government in Gujarat was already communalized so the government intervention in Gujarat  are not needed at all where correction in text books was concerned.

P .K Shamshuddin : Mr P K Shashuddin stated that  various aspects in text books for children were found to be derogatory and was opposed to the constitution and discussed these with various examples and stated that these textbooks ought  to be banned because it served as an obstruction national integration . He gave example of Kerala Shanti Samiti which have evolved some projects for instance the Gandhi Darshan and the Matri project which gave the values of Gandhi . Suggestions-

He said that interfaith and Shanti clubs be introduced in schools. He emphasized the training of teachers in schools as important and said that it would go a long way in creating harmony in society.

He also placed importance to the regulatory mechanisms. He said that the statutory body to correct the text books was important.

S N Mansoor- He talked about his work in the slum areas in Bangalore and said that  the Corporates also encouraged the communalization of education in Karnataka by funding the non governmental schools which were already communalized. He emphasized the role of the teachers as being very important in creating the positive mindset of the children.

Speaking about Madarsas he stated how reluctant the Maulanas were to be progressive where text books were concerned. They stated it was their job to teach only the Khutba., Namaz and not to look into the changes which ought to be brought about in the text books.

He said that lot of grassroot  level work was needed for bringing about a change in the text books in Karnataka which produced biased statements regarding the Dalits and the Muslims.

Vibhuti Narain Rai-  He  stated that the text books  that he had learnt as a child  continued to be taught till today.   He spoke of the fundamentalism in the Nadwa Madarsas which spoke negative about the non believers and called them KAFIR and also were anti women( eg Bahisti Zewar a book by Maulana Asraf Ali Thanvi) , anti backward classes.

He also spoke that there ought to  have regulatory mechanisms  to check the irregularities in the textbooks.

Vyas Misra- Spoke about the Musahar community in Bihar who were very deprived and  a backward community. He said that the heroes of the Dalits, Tribals etc were hardly mentioned in the text books and hence became alien to children. The text books contained biases in the text books against the tribals , minorities and the backward classes. He also spoke about the gender biases in the textbooks and the gender stereotypes, about the poems in the  textbooks  which mentioned  and glorified only the kings and the queens and not the subalterns which then went into making the mindset of children which is not conducive to the backward or the deprived classes.  

Munshi Singh- Mr Munshi shared about the history books of Mewat where the heroism of the Mewati kings who fought against the Babur was devoid of any mention.  He also criticized the Tablighi Jamaat and asserted that they concentrated on other worldly issues rather than on concrete issues of bread and butter.

He lamented on the backwardness of the Meos and said that only 2 % Meo women were literate and hence he felt that it would be futile to do any work or discuss about the textbooks when the majority could not even read or write. This was a startling fact to note specially when Mewat was only 50 km from the capital city i.e. Delhi.

 Ranu Jain  - Prof Ranu Jain talked of education being extremely politicized. She said that local level education was very important and laid more emphasis on the structure of education as a whole and also the pedagogy process. She said that education had become a political process and she suggested strong vigilance in the field of text books and need for advocacy and campaigns.

Ajay Kumar - He said that the content of text book was important. He said that the environment itself was communal and hostile and hence pressure groups had to be formed to pressurize the political powers.

Tayeb Khan- said that apparently there was not much problem in text books in Bengal. But the other problems exist others teaching mechanism in the Madarsas.

Apoorva -   According to him the question is not only to produce the substitute for text books but also to know  who formulates these texts. Majority of the population go to the government schools belong to Dalit, Tribals, and Muslims. It was clear about Madrasas that only 4% Muslim children go to these Madrasas. After the debate of  NCF 2000 and 2006 there is a need to make education  a pedagogical tool.. He gave the example of Chattisgarh  and said that most of the members in SCRT Committee were hard core secularist but in the debate what was important was the process. He gave various examples from the text books of Rajashthan where communalization of text books were rampant. The definition of terrorism in these books was that terrorism was spread by  Muslims and they are superstitious because of their religious practice.

·        Press Council
·        Standing Committee
·        National Registration

Vinod Raina :- He said that it was of vital importance to know the process involved in making of the text and it was important to look into committees. He said that one has to look into the issue with a larger perspective. The content was no doubt important according to him but it was also vitally important to take the students out of that content where the students could challenge the viewpoints expressed in the textbooks. CABE was not a statutory body. Being taxpayers he said that we should raise voice against communaliszation- Why should we pay for communalization.


14th January-

Mr Ashok Anshuman - He spoke of the history books and the issues in the Moghul history and the Rajput history.

He expressed the need to intervene in teachers training and help create a positive mindset among the teachers and the children hence teachers training was important as they influenced the minds of  the children.

Chand Peer-

He spoke of the communal elements that had crept in the text books in Karnataka too which was enhance by the communal mindset of the teachers.   

Like Bhartiya Mahsagar in Kannada  being translated to Hindu Mahasaagar.

He also suggested that the text book committee should be representative in nature including those belonging to the minorities .

Members Present :
Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, Apporva, Chand Peer, Achyut Yagnik, Ranu Jain, Muniza Khan, Jimmy Dhabi, Vinod Raina , Mr Vyas, Mr Khalid, Apoorva, Imtiaz,  Ahmed Prof Qamar Agha  , Bella Das, Bader Jehan.

The national consultation was followed  by the advisory committee meeting on the 14th January at the USO House in which the above members were present.

Dr Ranu Jain opined that a lot of Public debate on how to deal with the communalization of text books was important.

Mr Vyas stated that the exploitation element should also be explained in the textbooks.

Mr Apoorva threw light on the role of research and said that if we think of representation in simplistic manner then no solution would be reached at. He emphasized that one ought to look at the process during the content making , and also laid stress on the debates on the content of the text as being important. He said that the tools of examining the text books should be given to the activists also so that it enables them to analyze. He also stated that de education was important and supported the idea of representational approach as he mentioned that the Hindu common sense may overlook things which might be found striking by the Muslims or the Dalits. Second submission that he made was the semiotics of text books as being important as the word. The Pictorial reference etc were as important. it was to be looked into how and what image of the text books the child would carry.

Jimmy opined that tokenism ought to be avoided and it was important to look into how representation could be made in the committees which looked into the formation of the text books. He said that the problem was of India and not only of the Muslims and the  Hindus and that the committee ought to look into how we could bring in this aspect of governance.

Following were the suggestions given by Jimmy were-

·        Manuals to be made
·        To take information to the management and the Board
·        To create institutional networks
·        To make pamphlets and one sheet indicators.

Mr Vinod Raina however stated that mere numeral representation alone would not ensure secular mind of the people.

At the end of the meeting two resolutions were drawn. The drafting committee for the first resolution consisted of two member committee  -Vinod Raina, and Apoorvaanand .The resolution was read out by Apoorva anand and members made some additions to the original draft. Later the second resolution was drawn out by the  committee consisting of the Jimmy Dhabi, Imtiaz Ahmed, P.K Shamhuddin, and Mr Vibhuti Narain Rai and it was read out by Jimmy Dhabi.

·        The two resolutions are enclosed below.


The committee decided that the two majors were needed -
1.    Preparation of the manual  which would provide lenses to the teachers.
2.    Making of the pamphlets.
3.    Filing of the PIL with the High Court or the Supreme Court.

Budget allocation 15 lakhs.

It was also decided that the resolutions would be taken by the delegates to the concerned chief ministers of the States.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Dr Asghar Ali Engineer who thanked everyone for their contribution and making the meeting more meaningful and successful.

Bella Das- CSSS- Mumbai
Badar Jehan-  PEACE- Delhi 


Resolution 1

Drafting Committee- Mr Vinod Raina, Mr Apoorva Anand

 RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY members of the National consultation on' Minorities and biases in the Text Books held on 13th and 14th January 2006 at USO House New Delhi.

The constitution of India ensures that all activities of the State would be directed towards strengthening of the fundamental nature of the Indian state which is secular and democratic.  The State is also directed by the Constitution through Article 45 to inculcate scientific temper and critical attitude in the society through its actions. Recognizing the  cultural and linguistic diversity of India , the Constitution states that all religions and cultures  would be accorded equal respect by the state.

Education is a major activity through which the state is supposed to ensure that these fundamental constitutional Values are grounded firmly in the fabric of the Indian society.

We have however witnessed distressing action by the Central and State Governments over the years of violating the fundamental aspects of nation building, through the preparation of teaching -learning materials, both formal and supplementary made for our schools  and children. The attempt to impose a particular religion as NATIONAL and to indoctrinate the young minds which results in promotion of   hatred to   other religions, cultures and communities must be deplored. Apart from textbooks and supplementary materials , systematic recruitment of teachers espousing such views has considerably enhanced this condemnable destruction of Indian composite culture .

Whereas these actions have taken place state after state, and are continuing still, the immediate  example would be what is happening in Rajasthan right now. The Madhyamik Siksha Board , Rajasthan, Ajmer has published School Textbooks from class 8to class 12 in the years 2005-06 which contain highly objectionable content which are blatantly in conflict with the Constitution of India, especially the provisions of Article 15, 28, 21, 51A. These textbooks have been written with an underlying assumption of Indian Culture being synonymous with Hindu and Aryan culture. Manu ahs been described as the father of humankind and Brahma  as the creator of this universe.  An obsession with religion, an enthusiastic advocacy of the superiority of Hindu religion over other religions and defining Indianness in Savarkarite terms declaring those who do not consider their father land as their holy land as people with no entitlement as citizens are only some of the  objectionable features  of these books which range from History , Sanskrit to Science, Economics and Social Sciences. Fascism has been described as significant as it removes the ills of democracy.

Continuance of these textbooks is not permissible as they violate the Constitutional Right of an Indian Citizen to live in dignity with equal rights and the Child's universally accepted right to know and live in harmony and peace with others. They are unacceptable from the pedagogical point of view as they present themselves as the final, official version of truth and knowledge.

All secular and rational Indians, in particular Adivasis, Dalits, Minority groups cannot allow their tax and other money to be used to propagate and impose a violent world view on their children through school textbooks.

We therefore demand that :

1.    Strict guidelines be legislated for each state and the center regarding the constitution of textbook committees, substantial  representation of all communities in them, their transparency and responsibilities; with suggested penal action when they prepare material that violates constitutional values.

The Central Government stop its share of funds slated for school education to such erring sates, immediately

       Rajasthan if they fail to withdraw these textbooks immediately.
      The Rajasthan Government withdraw these textbooks with immediate effect.

Resolution 2 

Drafting committee- Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, Justice P K Shamshuddin, Mr Vibhutit Narain Rai, Dr Jimmy Dhabi S.J.

To demand public scrutiny of Educational Materials of Non-Governmental Educational Organisation/Institutions

The Constitution of India ensures that all activities of the various States in India should be directed towards promoting and strengthening secular and democratic ethos, gender justice, equality, scientific temper, and critical consciousness. The Constitution provides certain autonomy to the States in various areas and levels at the same time directing the States to conform to the values, ethos and the spirit of Fraternity (assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation) enshrined in the Preamble and Articles 14, 15, 21, 28 and 51 (A).

Through various studies, observations and information we have learnt that many Private, Minority, Aided and Unaided, Recognised and Unrecognised educational organisations/institutions in various States violate the secular ethos enshrined in the constitution through their education content, out reach programmes and organisational processes. The text books, supplementary reading material, songs, cassettes, CDs, plays, socio-cultural practices/exercises and symbols are often used to promote division, hatred among various groups/communities and further discourage scientific, rational and critical temper among students. These material and symbols are used to indoctrinate minds of children and people in and through these organisations.

Therefore without undermining the autonomy of various States in India and fundamental rights of the minorities, we the participants of ‘National Consultation on Minorities and Biases in Text Books' who met on 13-14 January 2007, New Delhi, resolve that all the text books, supplementary reading material, pamphlets, songs, symbols and socio-cultural exercises and activities carried and used in Private, Minority, Majority, Aided and Unaided, Recognised and/or Unrecognized educational organisations/institutions  must be subjected to public scrutiny to ensure that these organisations/institutions through their educational material, output and processes within these organisation adhere to and not violate Constitutional norms and ethos.
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism
602 & 603, Silver Star, 6th Floor, Behind BEST Bus Depo,
Santacruz (E), Mumbai:- 400 55. [India]

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