AHMEDABAD: BJP rebels may have called Modi a ‘Hitler’ during an anti-Modi protest, but Germany’s infamous dictator continues to be glorified in social science textbooks printed by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks.
Last year, a city-based NGO Prashant filed a petition demanding withdrawal of the Class IX textbook representing Adolf Hitler as a nationalist. Israel’s Councilor General David Zohar Zoshine had also visited Ahmedabad, met state education secretary P Pernneerveel and demanded withdrawal of the text.
With pressure mounting from Israel, the American Jewish Committee and numerous other Jewish agencies across the world, the education board agreed to exclude the chapter from the curriculum and insert the phrase “Hitler was cruel”. However, the new academic year began over the weekend with the social science textbook retaining the offending chapter without any changes and the book also finds a place in the curriculum of several schools.
The first chapter of the Class IX textbook titled ‘Present Currents of World History’ states that“Hitler led the Germans towards ardent nationalism“. The chapter further says that “in the thinking of Nazism, there is coordination of nationalism and socialism”.
The director of Prashant, Father Cedric Prakash, told DNA, “Some schools may not be teaching that particular chapter, but students would read it anyway. Moreover, nowhere is it mentioned that Hitler was ‘cruel’. There is no mention of the Holocaust.”
The principal of Udgam School, Raja Pathak, told DNA that the chapter was omitted from the curriculum, but since new textbooks have not been brought out yet, the chapter remains in the prescribed book.
Education Secretary Pennerveel said the old copies are in circulation now, but the Textbook Board would come out with a new social science textbook by next month. “We are working on the new edition where the objectionable paragraph will be altered,” he said.Since the academic year has started, most students have already bought the textbooks and are not likely to replace them.
Prashant has called for an “immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Class VII, IX and X social science textbooks”. The NGO has written to the Textbook Board and is waiting for a reply before filing a petition in court.