After much violence and street battles, the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala on Thursday decided to omit certain lessons in the controversial seventh standard social studies textbook. However, the Opposition United Democratic Front has rejected the move, demanding a complete withdrawal of the textbook.
Announcing the government’s decision, State Education Minister MA Baby said the curriculum committee suggested some changes and amendments to the textbook. The minister said the committee recommended replacing chapter 7 (‘Jeevan has no religion’) with one that promotes religious amity. Similarly, the English version of the textbook, with substandard translation, would be overhauled completely.
Facing violent statewide protests by Opposition parties and various religious outfits, the government had earlier constituted an experts’ committee headed by noted historian KN Panikkar to look into the contents of the textbook. The committee had also recommended some changes in the book. Subsequently, the government had called a meeting of the curriculum committee.
Trouble began for the LDF government after the state education department revised textbooks for standards 1,3,5 and 7. Of these, the social studies textbook for standard VII attracted the most criticism.