On Text Book Controversy


This is my personal opinion on the current Text Book controversy

I am so saddened and disturbed on watching the events on the streets
during the past few days in connection with the protest against some
of the lesions in the new Social Science text book of 7th standard. I
must say that I read the whole book. There was a time when text books
were so much revered and respected. Now I see them being burnt in the
streets with leaders of political parties watching. Several groups are
on the streets protesting against the lesions in the book. I can not
talk about every one of them. But as a Christian I must say that
Christians have no ground to ask for its withdrawal. Reasons are given
below.

I have heard three major complaints against this text book.
One, it talks high about mixed and inter cast marriages. Of course
traditionally Christians in Kerala have been very sensitive about this
matter. But it was not 7th standard text book that talked about this
first. If Christians consider St. Paul as an authentic preacher of
Christianity, it was he who did this heinous sin. Read first letter of
Paul to Corinthians Chapter 7 verses 13 to 15. It says, "If any
woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with
her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is
consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated
through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as
it is they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner desires to
separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not
bound. For God has called us to peace".  If Paul was able to acknowledge
and accept mixed marriage some twenty one centuries back why can’t we
accept this social reality that some times inter-caste marriages do
take place. If that can be in the Bible, why can’t it be in the social
science text book?

Second, there has been allegation that communist agenda is propagated
through some of the lesions. May be or may be not be true. It all depends
on the way one looks at a certain historical event. Is there any law
that it should be looked at only one particular way? Egyptian records
of 13th century BC says, ‘some slaves who were working in the building
projects of King Ramses II in the border towns of Egypt ran away in
the middle of the night with borrowed ornaments and other articles’.
Whereas the book of Exodus in the Bible presents it as an act of
liberation worked out by God of Israel to save his people from an
unjust lordship. Is this communism? If what we see in 7th standard
text book is communism, what we see in the Bible is also communism.
Then why we Christians are to be angry at the interpretation of the
history?

Third, there has been argument that students are give historical
stories that may make them terrorists by creating anger and hatred in
them. May be this will happen. But will Christians be angry at Jews for
what some of them did to Jesus and will go around and massacre them
today? Is there any one who seen the movie "The Passion of the Christ"
went and killed Jews in his vicinity? Of course students need to be angry at what
happened in the past (this happens even today according to media
reports). But it is the responsibility of the teacher to tell them
that it is OK to be angry, but express the anger differently and
positively. They need to distance themselves from that kind of an
unjust social order and be vigilant against it coming back and exist
in our society in some form.

A final note: Our country is a democratic and secular one. Just as
religion has its place in text books, lesions of no religion can also
be in there. When we talk about our religious rights, we should not
forget that we are a community in the name of some one who had no
rights in his own religion. It is high time we Christian grew up.