Kerala textbook says don’t believe in god

via Daily Jayaraj | Kochi published on June 20, 2008

Despite uproar, LDF Govt refuses to withdraw Class VII Marxist book on social studies

The CPI(M)-led LDF Government’s attempt to brainwash school children in Kerala through a new Marxist textbook and turn them away from religion and god has unleashed massive protests across the State. Everybody, barring the Left, is up in arms, demanding immediate withdrawal of the textbook.

The focus of mounting anger is the social studies textbook introduced for Class VII students under the State syllabus this academic year. Parents and religious organisations claim that the textbook propagates atheism, materialism and anti-religious sentiments.

The Opposition parties have dubbed the textbook as part of the CPI(M)’s strategy to preach Marxism to impressionable minds. The Education Department, presided over by Education Minister MA Baby of the CPI(M) who has been waging war against educational institutions managed by religious organisations, says the textbook aims at “making learning more creative and socially-oriented”.

Though Kerala on Friday witnessed the fourth consecutive day of intense protests demanding withdrawal of the textbook, sources close to Baby said there was no plan to either withdraw it or amend its contents. The maximum the Government could agree to would be to appoint a panel to review the book, they said.

A Marxist scholar, who used to advise the former EK Nayanar-led LDF Government, said every chapter in the book was an effort to teach young students the growth of the Communist movement in Kerala through struggles against landlords and ‘upper caste domination’, land and education reforms, etc.

The textbook presents ‘testimonials’ and photocopies of Marxist declarations to propagate the CPI(M)’s policies. It begins with ‘analytical testimonials’ on the ‘drawbacks of feudalism and upper caste domination’, including a full page ‘note’ that had been drafted by the late Marxist leader AK Gopalan for his party.

The textbooks tells students how ‘abominable’ the education, economic, food supply and agriculture systems were before the first Communist Government headed by EMS Namboodiripad came to power. The relevant chapters are written by those with proven Marxist credentials.

A full page is devoted to prove how ‘inhumanly’ the Brahmins treated Dalits and serfs, who were made to eat their meals mixed with the leftovers of the feudal lords and their women.

The climax of the ‘Marxistisation’ exercise comes in a section that narrates an imaginary interview between the headmaster of a school and the parents of a boy seeking admission in the school. The boy bears a Christian name, the father is Anwar Rashid and the mother is named Lakshmi Devi.

The surprised headmaster asks the parents what religion should he enter for their child in the required column, but the parents do not want any religion or caste specification to be mentioned. Then comes the father’s ‘revolutionary’ statement: “Let him choose the religion of his choice (when he grows up).”

The CPI(M) insists that the textbook does not hurt any religious sentiments, distort the history of any political party or ridicule any leader. DYFI national secretary P Sreeramakrishnan described the textbook as “an attempt to make some movement in the school curriculum which has thus far been stagnant, shallow and non-creative”. A former KSU leader, however, pointed out that non-Communists would find the textbook offensive.

The former KSU leader said he was surprised by the Congress’s complaint that the textbook ridicules its leaders. The book, he said, quotes Jawaharlal Nehru’s will: “I do sincerely desire to declare that no religious ceremony be performed for me after my death. I do not believe in any such ceremonies. To be forced to do them even as a formality is hypocrisy …”.

He said, “The Congress doesn’t know whom to follow: Jawaharlal Nehru, who was not religious, or his daughter Indira Gandhi, who violated the last wish of her father immediately after his death by giving him a traditional Hindu funeral.”

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