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LETTER 2 EDITOR - The textbook: Pros and cons

I don't understand why a government textbook should try to give religion such bad connotations. It is meant to confuse students and to create religious disharmony in young minds. Moreover, it is just like a party-study class.

I'm wondering how the religions had the presence of mind to come united against such a crooked move by Commies. I congratulate those religious leaders who stand against the Commies. We want peace not party.

Jaison Paul Mulerikkal
jaisonmpaul@gmail.com
12 Chewings Street
Page, ACT 2614
Canberra, Australia

I couldn't find anything wrong with this book. It is a shame that even Congress Party is supporting the cries against this book. If a Catholic priests decide a person's religion (by birth) is so important, why should he try to convert people to Christianity? All three religions, especially Christian and Islam, have given and still give religious study classes to children from very young age. If they doubt that a lesson in 7th grade could erase all they tried to teach the children through religious study courses, it then shows they themselves are not confident about their religion or its teachings. If the main media in Kerala had the guts to state this a couple of weeks before, the issue wouldn't have blown up.

Manoj Sadanandan
saritha_manoj@comcast.net

The content of the proposed text book on 2nd chapter is based on the new paradigm shift in approach suggested by NCERT, New Delhi.

The unconnected knowledge given in the previous textbooks were transmitted by teachers in the class and children used to mug up and reproduce them in the examination, and soon forgotten. There is no discussion or any cognitive exercise of age appropriate of each class. Dr.Howard Gardner in his famous research work "The Frames of Mind: the Multiple Intelligence" has revolutionised the concept of IQ and revealed the multiple intelligence that's mostly right brain oriented.

Our textbooks so far produced are mostly based on "left brain oriented" which is termed as 3Rs -- reading, writing and arithmetic. The discovery of multiple intelligences and the theory of constructivism by Vygotsky and Jerome.S.Bruner revolutionised the basic concept of learning/ teaching in western countries and brought the higher level of learning in accordance with age. There was no creativity in the classroom in former textbooks and evaluation merely tested the memory of the child.

The new textbooks recently introduced have really brought in higher mental or "cognitive load" to the children which are essentially needed for the students of new millennium.

Dr.P.K.Sivanandan
shivagrace@gmail.com

I feel it's a good book. I don't know why they're making noise over this book. They should go ahead with this book.

Mathew M George.( Kuwait +9656361765)
mathew_mammoottil@yahoo.com
Mammoottil Valiya Veedu,
Vazhuvady,Thazakara, Mavelikara

I can say without any doubt that they are just spreading their ideology. This book has to be banned.

Saju Sam
"saju.sam@highmark.com"

All this agitation is just political stunt. It's time for Congress leaders like AK Antony and VM Sudheeran to intervene to stop all these useless strikes.

Sudheer Noorudheen
Riyadh

I don't think that communism is promoted in this book. Fools in this world like Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy are simply the spokespersons of all bishops in Kerala. I think the public should be against all these communalists.

Prasad
prasadpt@zeenetwork.com

Why is Congress against this book? The book attempts to build humanist concept in young children. Is it wrong? Forget youth Congress (the group of people who don't know the meaning of vidyabhyasam). But senior leaders in Congress like Antony, Vayalar Ravi and Sudheeran should answer some questions. Are caste and religion more important than human beings? Is intercaste marriage a big mistake? I wonder how many Congress and League leaders read this book. (I don't know how many of them can read write.)

Dinesh. G
UAE

Our country is secular and there is nothing wrong in teaching secularism to the students of 7th standard. The Congress leaders of Kerala have to see the text books in BJP-ruled states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttaranchal, etc. In Gujarat the students are being taught about Hindu Gods and Goddesses and many more and Congress leaders in Gujarat are functioning like junior BJP. They do not have any voice against such Kavi teaching. Predictably Congress party cannot defeat BJP in Gujarat.

D Suresh Babu

There is an anecdote. A frog is kept in a bottle of water. It's comfortable and does not make any signs of discomfort. Nor does it make any effort to escape. The bottle is heated over a low flame. The frog continues to remain quiet. Even after hours when the temperature is very high, the frog is still quiet, and it was so till it had a "peaceful" end. One can have many views on the frog's case -- acceptance, inability to respond, dispassionate, detached, cool and valiant.

No changes in social, cultural and scientific ideologies permeate into the society all on a sudden, it takes time to gain acceptance. These changes have been continual and perpetual. Contrary to our notion, Europe's many nations have no religion, still they live peacefully, they hold names that are Christian, but do not know what Christmas or Easter is. People marry people from the same sex and live legally together. All these do not appear to have any ill effect on the quality of their social fabric.

Man has the freedom to develop his own views about anything and react with complete freedom so far it does not hurt his fellow beings, and the society in general. Coming back to the issue, I do not have any quarrel when a person who opts for a religion or wants to be an atheist, even if it is against my own views. Turning away from religion, there is another stage of same sex marriage, which is gaining acceptance. It is distressing for us today, but it need not be so one day, when some thing more distressing surfaces. I may accept this too.

But as person who has a faith of my own, I have a self imposed obligation to bring up my children imparting it to them through my own conduct and character by educating them, and more than any thing else, by being a living example through my way of life. I cannot practise some thing and teach my children some thing else. This is what I believe every religious minded person thinks and does. The seemingly innocuous conversation about the religion in the textbook is "slow heating". No sir, let the frog live.

P T Mathew
P O Box 329
Doha Qatar
plackattu@catholic.org

The agitation is by vested interests of the forward class. This textbook is best for teaching, allow our court to verify it....We must fight for our freedom in good learning.

K E Thampi,
Librarian NIO,
Kochi-18

My views
1. This text will only seed hatred in young minds of this age. This will never do anything good for the children who are suppose to grow in this technology world to compete with other nations
2. We are dragging them to ancient times and not helping them to grow into the future
3. The contents index itself is confusing and a 7th std child cannot properly understand its hidden meanings. This shows that it's not aimed at the student
4. This book quotes many things from novels and other old books, which are written to entertain people. A responsible class text book should not teach the student quotations from Novels and other poems in a class text
5. It does not depict the social status of Kerala today. Children should be educated to grow from the current level to higher levels to take this country forward and not drag them to 18th century
6. Overall it will never help a child to think big and compete in the technology world to find a decent living.
Nadas
I can't find any mistake in this book. My compliments to the education minister.

Nambiyar Jayaraj
OSHQ222
Quality Control
Harwell Project
MAIL:jayaraj_te@yahoo.com

I am a retired teacher with more than 35 years' experience. I'm neither a Marxist nor a fellow traveller of the LDF. In fact I hate many of the activities of the present ruling coterie. But to say that the textbook in question is against national interest and that it erodes national and religious values is utter nonsense. I'm very happy that this book is very well designed and thought-provoking. It must be retained at any cost.

P K Sreedharan

I'm ashamed of those who are fighting the book. These guys should read the book before they raise their voice. I strongly believe the content of this book will force the students to think about our past and future.

The book does not suggest any underhand attempt to teach communism or scepticism to religion. The agitation is a dirty game of politics; you are playing with our kids' future.

Byju Gobinathan
byjug@hotmail.com

Nothing objectionable in Std 7 textbook.

DrJacob John
Neurosurgeon, Kollam

I did not find anything objectionable in the book. The book clearly gives an idea about the past and present, only facts in it. I don't understand why people are making so much out of these.

Harikrishnan


It is ridiculous to ask which community is more affected by price-hike etc. Poor people are poor irrespective of caste etc. We should give importance to good things, not to bad things. This book looks like a newspaper with only crime news.

Education should be for tomorrow's citizen, not for yesterday's people. It is not good to teach this type of things into 7th std. These types of matters can be studied as PhD thesis. It will not help student anyway. I wish to them to make a theme for education.

Saji John

I was never a follower of LDF. But reading this book may change my mind. This is the first time I have ever read a Kerala syllabus text book which is so fresh with ideas and is practical.

I am a Hindu married to a Christian. So obviously I want my children to have the right to choose their religion when they are old enough to decide. More important, I want my kids to know that they have the right to choose what they want in life and that they are not bound by a system of servitude to swamis or priests or any other opportunistic elements of the society. That's why this book is exactly what I would have them study.

I don't blame the people who are making all this hoopla over this textbook. These are the same people across all religions that made a living exploiting and dividing our state in the name of religion and caste. If people start to think beyond all that, these exploiters will have no way of existence. For them, the book commits the unpardonable crime of speaking the truth and laying down a new vision which we need so badly at this stage after years and years of economic and social backwardness and hollow pretensions. I really really wish that we have a new generation who would think beyond their religion and caste and work to bring some sunshine to the lives of all Malayalees. I appreciate all those people who are behind (knowingly or unknowingly) this vision.

Ben

I don't see any thing adverse on the content. The strikes and other opposition are political. This is a good example for our little tots. We are seeing inter religion marriages, but really everyone is inter religion. One of them compels the other to change the religion and then marries. That is possessive. We have to eliminate this possessive mentality from our culture.
Let us follow the way Sree Narayana Guru.

Om shanthi
Anil
Toronto, Canada

This controversy is unnecessary. Kerala is not under the control of government but in the hold of some communal, religious leaders. They have the money and support of some political parties, hence their arrogances. They deserve prison not churches, temples or mosques. They can even buy the court, as they proved on the private education bill. We can only pray to God who doesn't have a religion

Rajesh Nair
rnairmvh@yahoo.com

This is definitely a communist manifesto. I think this book is for 'Kutty Sakhakals' not for others, because the former doesn't have any kind of obligation to society but only to goondaism.

Thomas Joseph
Bristol UK

The lessons for 7th class should be removed from the book otherwise it will create a lot of confusion and trouble in future. Also there is no need for any type of religious and political involvement in such books. Communist politics is already in the books should be removed and avoided in similar books.

Johny Kutty K

I really don't think there is much to worry about the chapter that deals with religion in a vague manner. But the overall purpose behind such study materials is to spread the idea of communism.

The land reforms act was great, it had a lot of impact on Kerala's social and economic realm. But it has a lot of demerits too. If they want to teach the tragedies of jenmmi-kudiyan-system, how the jenmmis were oppressing the kudians, do so. Also what happened to kudians after the land reforms and what happened to jenmis after the land reforms.

Lalachan Palackal

It is not fair that the government is ignoring the voice of the masses. The government must appoint an all-party committee to look into the matter.

Kerala government must not become a military regime like in Burma or impose an iron-fist rule as in China.

Dr. P G Vargis

The book helped me look at our past and see the drastic changes that took place in our society. There is nothing wrong in teaching or learning about the past; those who oppose may well oppose teaching about the First World War or India's first war of independence. It is very difficult to understand whether these people are for a secular India. This is a perfect book based on the latest curriculum of NCERT.

Sreedharan Unni

The book does not contain anything bad. If somebody does not agree with the book they should resort to legal procedures rather than create a law and order situation.

Kabeer

I fully agree and support this book. This book needs to be implemented as soon as possible to breed a broad-minded/civilised generation who may save our nation.

A.C. Anwar
Saudi Arabia

It is a wonderful textbook for children at the age of 12 to learn about our system, our country, our social setup. I congratulate the Minister M.A Baby and his team works in preparing such a beautiful book. Our country needs such type of Education!

Sadasivan Sandeep

It seems the controversy is baseless and I couldn't find anything which contradicts religion. The people who agitate need immediate treatment at Potta ashram or with any guru or Sheikh. (Not in a modern psychiatric hospital as these people do not believe in them too). I live in a western country where religion is an integral part of day-to-day life and if it happened here, these religious leaders would be end up in jail for distorting the truth and disrupting the education and social life. It is sad that our educated Keralites are playing into the hands of these morons.

P.P.M Ali
USA

I personally found nothing controversial in it about any religion or personality. But I certainly believe that certain anti-human elements in Kerala use the book as a weapon for political and religious advantage therefore sabotaging the future of our kids.

I would like to appreciate the authors of the textbook for revealing what still exists and happens in our country. Moreover, our new generations should know these things to become better citizens. Being a 100% democratic country, India never will become like China or any other developing country. By giving proper guidance to our new generations, we can expect better behavior from them.

Anil

I have gone through the book and feel it needn't be completely withdrawn. Only some parts regarding the unimportance of religion should be reviewed. Remaining contents are excellent.
Nishar

The allegations against the book are baseless and merely an election stunt. If it is anti communal please ask Sonia to remove Vayalar Ravi from central cabinet: he married a Christian woman and even Sonia herself had married a Hindu.
Raghu E

I could not find anything wrong. (Thanks to Kerala Kaumudi online). The second edition should talk about food, what it is, how we get it, and what agriculture is. Can we get food without farming, and if farming is essential, then why not teach the same from class 1.

The basic necessity of life is food. Let us learn to produce food. After that we can learn IT.

K Viswambharan
13/1, 5th Street, Dr Thirumurthy Nagar,
Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034.

It's a great textbook. I am really surprised with the contents and structure (syllabus).I also studied Kerala syllabus, 12 yrs back. But the textbooks were entirely different from this. The students will get the History and they come to know how Kerala (in education and social status) has grown to this level. Some organizations who are not interested in the social balance (difference between the poor and the rich) will definitely oppose the book.

I'm not a Communist, but all our kids have to study our real history.

A.C.Biji
Hyderabad

We must teach this text book to our children. They can understand the early stages of God's Own Country.
Saju T.Salim
Senior Design Technician
Cansult Maunsell Ltd

Those opposing the book are mistaken. Read it without political bias.
Revisudhan
Dubai

I could not find anything condemnable as claimed by various religious groups and UDF. How so much controversy in connection with the book?

I seldom believe, all our textbooks should be rewritten to reflect the present day situation so that the students who follow them will have a better understanding of the ground realities and thus can form their own conclusions. We were deprived of this opportunity and I regret that. Government should not bow down to the pressures of these groups and should implement reforms in the educational sector, if needed, should use iron fist. Education, especially higher education, is getting expensive and our government should do something to arrest the current tendency and if needed should reverse its own policy and aid common man otherwise only rich will be able to afford it. Our education minister should think twice before he talks and his words should represent the official version and should not be personal.

Finally, the Christian lobby is against this government because of government's interference in the admissions and fees fixations in the higher education sector and they are trying to find fault in each and every move of the Govt. UDF were able to cunningly escape from the people's ire for the central government's inability to contain inflation, nuclear deal with the US and fuel price hike.

M Kassim


I couldn't find any controversial issues in this book as the religious leaders, communal leaders and opposition parties' claim. They are simply creating problems for political gains. But I have the following suggestions.

1. Printing is not at all good and will put students to sleep. It must be impressively printed.
2. Presentation is like a low budget weekly. It must be more systematic.
3. Contents should include more historical aspects and incidents covering all fields.

Kottila Anil Kumar
kottila_anilkumar@yahoo.com

The VII standard book and its lessons are very much needed. We proudly support it.

M Amanulla
050-7262997

I congratulate the Left Government in introducing this kind of studies in schools. According to me, in all standards this kind of chapters should be included for the students. I don't know why certain political parties and religious heads are creating problem over these chapters. It's not promoting a Godless world. It's only showing the inter-human relations.

Sudhish Aloysius Rozario
00971507344890
Dubai
UAE

I feel there is nothing harmful in the book. I think real things are mentioned in the text and everybody has to accept it positively. The Government and authorities should go ahead with the textbook.

Hari Kumar K.
Chief Accountant
Sun Insurance Brokers L.L.C.
P.O.Box: 25248, Dubai.U.A.E.

I don't find any thing wrong in it. As a democratic country, each person has the right to choose his way of life. But so far "minority is the major power in Kerala" and you can't ignore it suddenly.

Bhagianathan


I could not find a single objectionable word in this book. This type of books is needed in this era of narrow regionalism and religiosity. The students will get some insight into the true nature of secularism and the constitution of India. If honestly followed, this type of education system can shape most of the students (who are the citizens of tomorrow and will lead the country) into model citizens, tolerant of religions and helpful to society. What is wrong in a father saying that "let my son decide his religion when he grows up"? It is the right of each and every Indian to believe or not believe in religion.

Kerala Government and Minister Baby should not even dream of withdrawing this book.
This is a model book to be taught in the true spirit.

Suresh Kumar P K

Kerala is a state renowned for communal harmony and, from ancient times, people of all religions and castes live together in this state in brotherhood, helping and co-operating with each other. People of this state should ensure that no one should be allowed to destroy this peaceful atmosphere at any rate.
I have read different chapters (not all chapters) in the controversial Standard VII Social Studies Text Book.

I am not an educational expert, but I feel there are chapters that need revision before they go into classrooms. An example is 'Mathamillatha Jeevan'. I agree that the Indian Constitution gives its citizens freedom/right to choose his/her own religion or a citizen can live without any religion. When the headmaster is asking the parents about the pupil's religion, they are telling to keep the column of religion 'blank' and leave it to their child to choose his religion when he is an adult. It was OK if this was taught in higher classes (Plus II) or above when the student attains some sort of maturity. But this, I do believe, should not be taught in lower classes, especially in Standard VII when the student is only 11 or 12 years of old.
This is an insult to the religious believers, who form the majority in Kerala. While I agree that there are so many children in Kerala born of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, they are in a minority. Let them bring up their children to make their own choice regarding religion and caste. But why should the idea of non-religion be given in a textbook? Kerala public very well understands the idea of CPM, thru Mr. M.A. Baby, that they want to have a non-religious public here. Only those who favor communist ideology - like veteran retired justice Sri. V.R. Krishna Iyer -- can support this. As other readers have pointed out, there appears to be a deliberate attempt in the book to promote communism. Is this the way to spread communism? Is CPM in Kerala afraid that they would be weakened in Kerala in the long run?


Lastly, I suggest withdrawing the book in whole; if that is impossible, to remove all the controversial parts from book. Education Minister, instead of approaching different people to get support for this book, should take immediate action either to withdraw the book or at least withdraw all the controversial lessons from the book.

John Thomas
Email ID: akjot2006@hotmail.com

When Darwin's Origin of Species is academically accepted in place of the biblical concept of the creation of the world, I wonder why these hoodlums are creating a controversy over a factual chapter. The intentions of the Leftist Government vis a vis the new chapters in the schoolbook is a welcome step to eradicating the ills in the society. I see much of humanism rather than communism through the chapters. And verily, both humanism and communism are 2 faces of the same coin. The critics of the book are only trying to stir up communal problems and for a progressive state like Kerala such agitations will not succeed either. I feel more chapters highlighting social evils should be introduced in the books. I have a word of praise for Minister M.A Baby who amid the hue and cry from certain communal and religious misfits, still stand like a rock of Gibraltar and also defies effectively the arrogant and stubborn leaders of the different spiritual groups.

The near-defunct Indian National Congress, notorious for their nefarious tie ups with communal parties, are trying to re-script the shameful and faceless liberation struggle of 1959. While the UDF is a conglomeration of communal sections, the LDF is a team of progressive and secular parties. The public will see through the dirty game of the UDF and give them a fitting reply.

Charles Davis
Ex SFI
Dubai




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