First controversies and now blunders. After hitting headlines for removing nursery rhyme ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and lessons on Kamla Nehru and Jawaharlal Nehru, the Rajya Shiksha Kendra of Madhya Pradesh has drawn flak for mentioning Kasturba Gandhi as the mother of Mahatma Gandhi.
The blunder appears in the recently published question bank of the Hindi Special subject of class 8 on page number 5. The objective question number 2 asks the name of Mahatma Gandhi’s mother and gives four options. At the end of the page, the answer is provided as option 2 – Kasturba Gandhi! Although, the name of Gandhiji’s mother – Putlibai -- is given as an option.
Those who prepared this booklet appear to have no information about Gandhiji’s mother because on page 10 they committed another mistake. They failed to provide the correct name of Gandhiji’s mother in the ‘Fill in the Blanks’ column.
The goof-ups do not end here. On page three of the booklet, Mandu is referred to as the pink city. The correct answer -- Jaipur.
This question bank has been prepared for teachers to help them set up question papers for class VIII. The book, which Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission sources called a ‘training module’, was published under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and thousands of its copies had been distributed to various parts of the State.
In the preface of the question bank, a copy of which is in the possession of Hindustan Times, Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission Commissioner has written, "Students are our future and in order to empower them, you, we and the Government are alert and responsible".
BJP MLA Akhand Pratap Singh has already dispatched a letter on the blunder – wrong name of Gandhiji’s mother -- to the Union HRD Department. He will meet the Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the matter.
Akhand Pratap Singh told the Hindustan Times that he checked the booklet at the Sarva Shiksha Kendra at Tikamgarh and found the mistake. "I stopped distribution of the book. Out of 992 books available, 932 were already distributed. There are only 60 books available at the centre and they have been sealed," he said. He has sought action against Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission Commissioner M K Singh. "How can an agency that is responsible for shaping the future of the country commit such a mistake," Akhand Pratap Singh asked.
When contacted, M K Singh said he had not seen the booklet. He told the Hindustan Times that corrective measures would be taken soon and if anyone was found to have committed the mistakes deliberately, strict action would be taken.
School Education Minister Narottam Mishra said he has ordered an inquiry into the matter.