Gujarat board book erroneously calls Jesus 'demon'; education minister says error will be rectified

A Class IX Hindi textbook has referred to Jesus Christ as a demon. The Hindi textbook belonged to the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB). The erroneous sentence states that stories of this 'demon' will never be forgotten. The education minister and the chairman of the textbook board have said that the error will soon be rectified. A misprint was the cause of the error, officials reportedly said, according to News 18.

The underlined sentence that was erroneous. News

The underlined sentence that was erroneous. News

The erroneous reference can be seen in chapter 16 of the textbook titled Bharatiya Sanskriti Mein Guru-Shishya Sambandh (relationship between a guru and his disciples in Indian culture).

According to The Deccan Herald, page 70 carries the error, wherein the line goes: “Iss sambandh mein haivan Isa ka ek kathan sadaa smaraniya hain", which when translated, means, “In the given context, words of demon Jesus shall always be remembered.”

The Times of India mentioned that the Christian community flagged the error when spokesperson of the Catholic Church of Gujarat Fr Vinayak Jhadav said a month back that the error was pointed out to relevant authorities, namely the chairman of the GSSTB, the principal secretary of education and the chairman of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI).

Nitin Pethani, chairman of the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks, said, “The word “haiva”, a disciple of Jesus Christ, got misprinted as “haivan”, meaning a demon,” adding that “Aadam Isa” and “Haiva Isa” were the two disciples of Christ and an “n” was accidentally printed in the book, as per News 18.

News 18 further mentioned that "advocate Subramaniam Iyer, who noticed the mistake, said 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." Iyer added that although the error may be unintentional, it could lead to a rift between communities and also cause a law and order problem.

As per the report, this is not the first instance wherein such errors have been found in Gujarat textbooks. In previous instances, a textbook had claimed that Japan had dropped an atom bomb on the United States during World War II.

The Times of India reported that Class X social studies textbook contained chapters on ''Hitler, the Supremo'' and ''Internal Achievements of Nazism''.

In more instances, as per The Hindu, some social science textbooks contained the line: All south Indians are “Madrasis.”

Updated Date: Jun 09, 2017 09:02 AM

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