NEW DELHI – An image in a class six textbook taught in Indian schools showing a mosque as a source of noise pollution has sparked controversy.
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The outrage on social media, however, has prompted the published to tender an apology and promise that the picture would be removed in subsequent editions.
Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, told news agency PTI, “If any book with objectionable content is being taught at certain schools, it is for the schools and the publisher to ensure such a thing does not happen.”
Hemant Gupta of Selina Publishers, in their apology, said the picture consisted of “a structure resembling a portion of a fort and other noise producing objects in a noisy city”.
“We do apologise if it has hurt the sentiments of anyone,” he said.
Singer Sonu Nigam had stoked a debate recently when he said he was woken up by the sound of “azaan” — early morning calls for prayers from mosques — amplified by loudspeakers.
In the last few months, objectionable content has made its way to several Indian textbooks raising serious concerns about what students are being exposed to. Just last month, controversy erupted after a Class 9 Hindi textbook referred to Jesus Christ as a demon.
In April, a Class 12 textbook on physical education suggested feminine proportions of 36-24-36 as being ideal. A Class 4 Environmental Studies textbook, while educating students on the importance of breathing, gives a practical example that shows how children can suffocate a cat to death. Another book said that meat-eaters cheat, lie and commit sex crimes.