Out of the nine books, introduced in Gujarat’s schools and published by the Gujarat State School Textbook Board, eight are by Dina Nath Batra, national executive of the RSS education wing, Vidya Bharati.
From preaching about ancient India’s gurukul style of learning, redrawing the Indian map to include other countries to interpreting history through stories about rishi-munis (sages and seers), dev-daanav (deities and demons) and “heroes” of pre-Independence Indi, these books are trying to conform to the “Bharatiya sanskriti” or the Indian culture.
They were published by the Gujarat government in March this year and mandated them as supplementary reading for primary and secondary students. They have been distributed free of cost to 42,000 government schools.
Here’s a look at what they have:
On gau seva
How a king pledged to protect and take care of cows to take his lineage forward.
Entertainment for students
Collecting and maintaining a scrapbook of tickets, stones, stamps, pictures, feathers of birds, or cards; participating in social activities, watching programmes on Doordarshan, and organising a programme on Akashvani for the school
“Acharya” not “professor”
Denounces professor as a legacy of the British as professors profess while the acharya practises.
Teaches students to take pride in "our religion and its symbols".
Foreigners and shoes
On how Swami Vivekananda told an Englishwoman that the place of a foreigner is at his feet.
“Modernisation of education should not mean westernisation, but Indianisation.”
On Indian culture
“...it is not correct to say that Indian culture is a mixed culture. It is appropriate only to call it Indian culture.”
"Negro" and the brave Indian
On how an employee of Air India stopped a "negro" who was a "serious criminal in the Chicago records" from opening a door on a plane.
How Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar sang the Vande Mataram despite Maulana/Mohammad Ali's objection at a Congress conference in 1923.
On today's netas
Asks students to learn from a story about patriotism during the freedom struggle and talks "patriotic politicians who would not hesitate to sell the country" in independent India.
Historians slam Dina Nath Batra books, call them 'fantasy'