Debate over Mahishasur – Discontinued use of textbook a decade ago: Don Bosco School to Smriti Irani

Amid uproar over HRD Minister Smriti Irani's speech in Lok Sabha wherein she had cited some controversial content from a textbook, Don Bosco School in Matunga claims the school had stopped using the textbook a decade ago.

Updated: Feb 26, 2016, 17:02 PM IST
Debate over Mahishasur – Discontinued use of textbook a decade ago: Don Bosco School to Smriti Irani

New Delhi: Amid uproar over HRD Minister Smriti Irani's speech in Lok Sabha wherein she had cited some controversial content from a textbook, Don Bosco School in Matunga claims the school had stopped using the textbook a decade ago.

Irani, while addressing the Lower House over JNU row, had asserted that a handbook for Class 4 history teachers authored by activist Teesta Setalvad shows Goddess Durga in bad light.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the school principal Father Bernard Fernandes has confirmed that the school had stopped using the textbook around 2004.

“These books were used by some of our schools on an experimental basis for a year,” said Fernandes. “But they were discontinued after a year. Today, none of our teachers use these books,” he was quoted as saying by HT.

The report further quotes an official from the school stating, “Our teachers don’t use the book anymore, so we do not know how the HRD got a copy of it, claiming it was from our school.”

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Irani defended the action against students of JNU, saying Kanhaiya Kumar and some other students had been found indulging in 'anti-national' activities by the JNU authorities themselves.

The HRD minister, while linking JNU incident with violation of freedom of speech, brought up the topic of 'Mahishasur Martyrdom Day'.

"What is Mahishasur Martyrdom Day, madam speaker? Our government has been accused. I miss today Sugata Bose and Saugata Roy in the House - champions of free speech, because I want to know if they will discuss this particular topic which I am about to enunciate in the House, on the streets of Kolkata. I dare them this," she said.

"Posted on October 4, 2014. A statement by the SC, ST and minority students of JNU. And what do they condemn? May my God forgive me for reading this," she further said.

"Durga Puja is the most controversial racial festival, where a fair-skinned beautiful goddess Durga is depicted brutally killing a dark-skinned native called Mahishasur. Mahishasur, a brave self-respecting leader, tricked into marriage by Aryans. They hired a sex worker called Durga, who enticed Mahishasur into marriage and killed him after nine nights of honeymooning during sleep," she added.

Irani's remarks in the Upper House drew criticism from leaders across political parties.

(With ANI inputs)