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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Derogatory reference to scheduled caste in Urdu textbook

Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 10, 2013
First Published: 10:16 IST(10/7/2013) | Last Updated: 10:20 IST(10/7/2013)

The spate of errors in state board’s textbooks continues.

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The new Class 11 Urdu textbooks have referred to persons belonging to the scheduled caste by a term that the Supreme Court has called “offensive” and “punishable”.

The term figures in an article ‘Ab Delhi Door Nahi’ by Pakistani journalist Raza Ali Abidi, published on page 32 of the textbook.

In 2008, the apex court had ruled that addressing people by the term amounts to an offence punishable under the provision of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

“This word is considered unparliamentary and unfit to appear in a textbook. It is of shocking that it escaped the notice of experts responsible for book’s content, and who should have removed it,” said Shafi Shaikh, retired head of the Mumbai university’s Arabic department and recipient of the President’s Award for ‘Excellence in Arabic’.

There are around 100 mistakes in Class 10, and 300 glaring errors in Class 12 Urdu textbooks.

They include terming a castrated bull a cow, and other factual errors that have rewritten history and geography by changing the names of poets and rivers (see box).

Another grave mistake found in a Class 10 textbook is the time of occurrence of one of the most important battles in Islamic history.

It erroneously mentions that the Battle of Uhud was the first battle fought after the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Madina.

The first battle was actually the Battle of Badr.

“This is a very childish mistake and it shows that the experts who wrote the textbook do not have even the basic knowledge of Islamic history,” said Shaikh.


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