ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Textbooks, Religion and Politics

An opportunistic opposition sets alight passions in Kerala, merely to embarrass the ruling Left coalition.

The class VII textbook controversy in Kerala has brought back memories of the Vimochana Samaram (liberation struggle) agitation that resulted in the dismissal in 1959 of the E M S Namboodiripad-led government by the Nehru-led Congress government in the centre. At that time it was a combination of religious groups along with the main opposition, the Congress, leading an agitation against an education bill that sought greater control for the government over the administration of educational institutions. Today it is the text of a chapter on religious tolerance and secularism in a social sciences school textbook that has brought similar groups together in opposition to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

The textbook presents concepts in social science in a critical and reflective manner and introduces students to social issues through various analytical exercises – all this apart from learning from history. One could ask if the contents, which are supposed to be part of the first of a series on social science, are presented too early in school learning. But having posed that question there is nothing in the contents that justifies the irrational and inflammatory passions that have been aroused by the political opposition in the state.

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