Once they spearheaded a campaign against the saffronization of NCERT books. And now, the Left parties are caught in a paradox of their own making. Several opposition parties, religious leaders and social organizations in the state have accused them of injecting atheism and communist ideas in school textbooks.
Trouble began after the state education department revised the textbooks of Class 1, 3, 5 and 7. Of these, the Class 7 social studies textbook generated maximum criticism. Besides portraying national leaders in a bad light, it tries to project the isolated communist uprising as part of the freedom struggle, undermining the national movement, argue Congress leaders.
Christian and Muslim leaders allege the government is trying to inject atheist values into young minds through lessons “questioning the relevance of religion in society”. They are particularly agitated over a chapter titled “No religion for jeevan (life)” that exhorts children not to flaunt their religion anywhere.
Here’s a sample question: which religion would be worst hit in the event of the following — price rise, drinking water crisis, epidemics or earthquake?
Another lesson carries an imaginative interview between a headmaster and parents seeking admission. The boy carries a Christian name; the father is named Anwar Rashid and the mother Lakshmi Devi. The headmaster asks the father what religion should he fill in for the child in the required column to which the reply is: “Let him choose his religion when he grows up.”
“We never wanted the government to promote any religion, but at the same time, it should desist from propagating irreligious ideas. We’ll start an agitation against this,” said the Muslim League’s PK Kunhalikutty.
“We will resist any move to inject atheism and communist ideas into young minds. We have decided to observe a black day on June 30,” said Arch Bishop Daniel Acharuparambil.