An embarrassing error in Class 9 Hindi textbook of Gujarat State Board inadvertently referring to Jesus Christ as a demon, has put the state government in a vexed situation.
In chapter 16 of the book titled “Bharatiya Sanskriti Mein Guru-Shishya Sambandh” (“Relationship between a guru and his disciples in Indian culture”) on page 70, the line refers to Jesus Christ as – “Iss sambandh mein haivan Isa ka ek kathan sadaa smaraniya hain.” Translated, it means, “In the given context, words of demon Jesus shall always be remembered.”
The officials of the state textbook board have attributed the faux pas to a typographical error. They claimed that instead of “haiva”, who was a disciple of Jesus Christ along with ‘Aadam’, word ‘n’ got inadvertently added to be misprinted as “haivan”, meaning a demon.
The man who is stated to have first noticed the error, Advocate Subramaniam Iyer, said that it may be unintentional as claimed by state officials but it was “unacceptable” and attracts legal provisions relating to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings. “This is a case that attracts section 295(a) of the IPC…the error may be unintentional but it can create a rift between communities and cause a law and order problem,” he said.
The issue that has been raised by academicians and several Christian organisations in the state for over a month, forcing state education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, to finally instruct the officials to rectify the ‘misprint’ at the earliest. Though no instructions or steps to punish the erring officials involved with the printing or checking the textbooks have been issued as yet.
(This report was published in Deccan Herald)