A book for children published recently under the government-funded National Book Trust’s (NBT) Nehru Bal Pustakalaya series has been withdrawn because of its objectionable content that used derogatory terms for many communities of India.
An NBT order issued on Thursday said: “The book carries objectionable contents which are not suitable for reading.”
The order came after HT sent emails to NBT seeking justification in using objectionable terms for communities in the book ‘Indians First’ a copy of which is with HT.
Some of the terms include ‘chinkies’ to represent people from the Northeastern states, ‘ghatis’ for Marathis, ‘Balle Balle’ for Punjabis, ‘Shawlwallahs’ for Kashmiris, ‘dosas’, ‘idlis’ and ‘sambar’ to represent south Indians, ‘sattu-kuttu’ for Biharis, ‘macher jhol’ for Bengalis, etc.
Use of the term ‘chinky’ was surprising, that too for a children’s book, in the backdrop of many reports of racial discrimination against the Northeastern people who are mostly of Mongoloid racial stock.
The page on the Northeastern people also has an illustration of a young boy pulling at the edges of his eyes so as to depict the slit-eyed mongoloid look.
Last year, the Union home ministry had sent a letter to all the states to book anyone who uses such derogatory terms to convey the people from that region.
The book is priced at Rs. 105 and has an initial print run of 5,100 copies,.