Objectionable content in textbook: HC direction to CBSE

Chennai: The Madras High Court today directed CBSE to consider and pass orders within three months on a representation, seeking a direction to it to remove alleged objectionable content in class IX social science textbook about the Nadar community.

The court gave the direction while disposing of a Public Interest Litigation by the Advocates Forum for Social Justice.

The forum submitted that in the social science textbook, published by National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), some wrong information was given in respect of evaluating the history of the Nadar community.

Stating that the community hails from the ancient period in Kanyakumari district, which was the then Travancore Samasthanam, the petitioner submitted that Nadars had also held important portfolios in that administration.

Many in the community had participated in the freedom struggle, undergone much suffering and sacrificed their lives for the nation’s independence, the forum added.

The Nadar community had also played a major role in the business and economy of Tamil Nadu, the petitioner said.

However, a chapter in the textbook under “Indian Colony Athikkam” (Transformation and Colonial India) and sub-heading of caste conflict and dress change, it was wrongly mentioned that during British rule, South Travancore was known as Kumari district, its natives were known as Naikers and that the Nadar community had come and settled there to eke out a livelihood, the forum said.

The petitioner said after doing some research, it came to know that the history narrated in the book was incorrect and some of the contents ‘degraded’ the entire Nadar community.

So it issued a notice dated September 14 asking authorities to rectify the mistakes in the book.

CBSE in its reply stated that NCERT had constituted a committee to review the textbook and directed the forum to approach the NCERT.

The petitioner submitted that since CBSE was the competent authority, it should have initiated immediate action to redress the grievances. But the Board had passed on its responsibility to NCERT.

The petitioner submitted he had learnt that another Nadar forum had made a similar representation in 2012, but no action was taken in this regard for the past four years.