President APJ Abdul Kalam, who is also visitor to IGNOU, has expressed his dissatisfaction over the enquiry conducted by university on the derogatory references to Hindu gods and goddesses in textbooks. He has directed the HRD ministry to conduct a fresh enquiry within six months.
Former Vishwa Bharti VC Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and DU professor KL Shrimali have been appointed to look into the matter.
Earlier, there was a furore over history textbooks prescribed by IGNOU which allegedly contained “insulting” remarks about Lord Shiva, Krishna and Goddess Durga. After the issue was taken up in the Lok Sabha, the textbook was withdrawn. That time, an enquiry did not fix responsibility on anyone. A letter from the HRD ministry to IGNOU in the present instance cites the university’s objections at that time.
“The material was developed as per the IGNOU act and the course was approved two years before introduction. It was based on the opinion of historians and experts and no one objected to the content. The university withdrew the course following the controversy and formed a committee. Everything was in order and, therefore, a Visitorial enquiry is not required,” according to the HRD letter.
“This contention of IGNOU was not agreed upon by the Visitor and he wants to initiate a fresh enquiry in the matter,” the letter adds. IGNOU officials are taking this latest move in a positive spirit. “The new enquiry is a step to prevent any such occurrences in the future,” said an administrative official. “We see nothing wrong with this.”
The new committee will enquire into the derogatory language and textbook material that was prepared in 2004 and fix responsibility.