A picture of warrior Rani Laxmi Bai smoking a hookah shown in a social studies book of Class 5 being taught in some CBSE schools has outraged a section of students, their parents and teachers.
The school management of RD Public School was surprised when two students of Class 5-Mosin Pawar and Vedant Adlak-asked their teacher if Rani Laxmibai smoked hookah. The teacher in turn informed the school management about the contents of the book.
The picture shows the legendary warrior with a hookah in chapter 18 of the book.
There is a description about the first war of Independence fought in 1857 wherein a picture of Rani Laxmi Bai along with Tatya Tope, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Nana Saheb and others has been published.
The book is authored by Abha Sehgal and Sushmita Malik and published by a Chennai-based publisher 'Orient Blackswan Private Limited'.
Vice-principal of RD Public School admitted that it was a mistake and the school management had not noticed it earlier. "Now, we have noticed the mistake and we will write to the publisher to correct the mistake," he told HT.
The officials of school education department have also taken notice of the error. Subodh Sharma of education department said, "We will instruct the school management to remove the picture of Rani Laxmi Bai. We will also write a letter to NCERT.”
Professor RG Pandey, a historian, said the picture published in the school's book was objectionable and legal action should be taken against the publisher and the school.
"It is very unfortunate that the queen has been depicted in such a manner. The tradition of smoking hookah was not followed by Rani Laxmi Bai's family. The students are being misled by such books.”