Tamil Nadu

RSS functionary seeks deletion of sentence from Class X textbook

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Petitioner denies organisation took anti-Muslim stance during days before partition

A writ petition has been filed in the Madras High Court by P. Chandrasekaran, secretary of the Chennai chapter of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), objecting to a sentence in the latest Class X social science textbook of State board schools that the Hindu Mahasabha as well as the RSS had taken a “pronounced anti-Muslim stance” during the days that led to partition of the country on religious lines in the pre-Independence era.

Justice P.D. Audikesavalu has directed the government counsel to obtain instructions on the issue by January 22 from the School Education Department, the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation (TNTESC) and the Director of State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT).

In his affidavit, the petitioner insisted on deleting the “objectionable” sentence from English as well as Tamil versions of the textbook. Stating that the RSS had only opposed the partition of the country on religious lines and insisted on keeping the country united, Mr. Chandrasekaran said it had been “falsely misinterpreted” to mean as if the RSS had taken an anti-Muslim stance.

“If such wrong messages are included in the textbook meant for school students, it will lower the image of the organisation in the minds of the young people and it is highly objectionable,” he added.

The petitioner also asserted that the RSS never took a stand against any religion and was working only towards consolidation of the Hindu society, which was divided on caste lines. “In fact, the RSS has floated Muslim Rashtriya Manch, which works for the minorities, especially Muslims, and it has a large following in the Muslim community,” he said, and urged the court to order deletion of the controversial sentence from the textbook.

Large following

It was brought to the notice of the court that a representation was made to the School Education Secretary on the letterhead of Tamil Nadu unit of RSS on November 18 with a request to withdraw all copies of the textbook that had already been circulated, besides ordering deletion of the “derogatory” sentence from copies to be printed in future. A request was also made to order appropriate action against people responsible for inclusion of such a “false” statement.

The representation urged the official to act fast without forcing the organisation to resort to legal recourse. Yet, “the respondents have not taken any steps to remove the portion containing objectionable reference to the RSS till date. In view of the above, the petitioner is constrained to approach this court,” the affidavit read and sought an interim injunction restraining further distribution of the social science textbook reportedly printed on August 2.

Recalling the history of the organisation it stated that the RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in 1925 for strengthening the foundations of Hindu society and preparing it for social, economical, cultural, religious, philosophical and political challenges.

“Expressed in simple terms, the ideal of RSS is to carry the nation to pinnacle of glory through organising the entire society and ensuring protection of Hindu Dharma,” the petitioner said.

He went on to state: “The RSS has a core principle of unity in working towards national diversity and harmony. In fact, the meaning of Hindu is those who love this land, its people, its forest and everything here which includes any religion, region, caste or worship of any God with the ultimate aim of reaching the unreached and joining hands to bring about overall happiness of the nation since unity in diversity is in the very nature of the soil.”

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 6:17:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rss-functionary-seeks-deletion-of-sentence-from-class-x-textbook/article30570432.ece

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