Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has made it abundantly clear that the government will be ready for a dialogue if any substantive objection about the contents of the social studies textbook of standard VII is placed before it, but will not countenance violence on the basis of baseless assumptions and allegations.

Front convener Vaikom Viswan and Education Minister M.A. Baby told The Hindu separately that the avenue for serious dialogue would always remain open, but there could be no compromise when the hard-earned renaissance values of the State were sought to be sabotaged with ulterior political motives.

“I am happy that everybody has begun taking a close look at our textbooks. Let anyone convince us that the book’s contents go against the spirit of secularism and the national freedom struggle and then we will consider reviewing it,” Mr. Baby said.

Mr. Viswan said the LDF and the government would always remain open to dialogue, but nobody should think that they could force the government into a dialogue by unleashing violence. “We know we have to remain responsive to serious public opinion, but can that mean that anybody can indulge in violence and vandalism,” he asked. The lesson in the eye of the current storm is one which states that there must be no compulsion to identify a child seeking admission in a school by religion or caste. The lesson is accompanied by the portion of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Will where he states that no religious ritual should be performed after his death. It also has quotes from the Mahabharata and the Bible and sayings of Prophet Mohammed and Guru Nanak on the theme of religious tolerance. What the lesson lacks is subtlety and it has angered almost the entire spectrum of Muslim organisations and the student wings of Opposition parties, Mr. Baby said.