CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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A demon typo in textbook

AHMEDABAD (SE): A high school textbook published in Hindi by the Gujarat State School Board for School Books for use in public schools in the state of West India, mentions and defines Jesus Christ as a devil
 
Fides reported that when Christians complained about the publication, the state education minister only said, “The mistake will soon be resolved.”
 
Chapter 16 of the book, entitled The relationship between a guru and his disciples in Indian culture, reads, “In such context, one will always remember an incident of the demon Jesus.”
 
Subramaniam Iyer says that article 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to deliberate and malicious actions intended to outrage religious feelings of any social group, could be invoked.
 
“It is simply unacceptable and should be removed immediately,” he said. Iyer believes the mistake can create a gap between communities and cause problems of order and security.
 
Meanwhile, the president of the board for school books, Nitin Pethani, said it was a typographical mistake.
 
“The word haiva (disciple of Jesus Christ) was printed as haivan, meaning devil, inadvertently,” he said.
 
After Iyer published a photo of the controversial chapter on social media on June 3, the problem typo created havoc among the Christian community, which asked for the immediate withdrawal of the textbook from schools.
 
Jesuit Father Cedric Prakash told Fides, “The fact that Jesus was denigrated in a school book tells a lot about those who have been accountable for shaping the mind, character and future of Indian children.”
 
Father Prakash added, “Many have no hesitation in denigrating or even eliminating minorities, dalit and tribals.” Considering the error as a sign of fascist ideologies, Father Prakash is asking for the immediate withdrawal of the textbook.
 
It is not the first time that mistakes of this kind have been reported in textbooks published in Gujarat.
 
John Dayal, a journalist and long time human rights advocate, especially in the field of religion, said, “Textbooks have always been dangerous as far as references to faith are concerned.”

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