Textbook row: Historian declines to join review panel

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 15:12

Thiruvanthapuram: Eminent historian M G S
Narayanan has declined to join the three-member panel set up
by the Kerala Government to review the controversial social
science textbook for the 10th standard which has raised the
hackles of the Catholic church.

Narayanan said that he was not ready to be a member of
a committee headed by former bureaucrat Dr D Babu Paul as the
latter was not a professional historian.
"This textbook is prepared by a panel of competent
historians and only professional historians are capable of
reviewing it to ascertain if the complaints of the church has
any substance," Narayanan told agency.

The Government invited Narayanan to join the review
panel last week on receiving complaints from the Catholic
church in Kerala that the textbook, prepared during the
previous LDF government`s rule, contained "grossly baseless
anti-church contents" and "propagated Marxist political
ideology".

Narayanan said he was contacted by a government
official and he accepted the request to be part of the
committee under the impression that it would be headed by a
historian.

However, he said he came to know only later that it
was going to function under the chairmanship of a former
bureaucrat.

On the contents of the book, Narayanan said it was in
fact, "one of the best books ever prepared" for school studies
in Kerala. However, it was true that some of its contents had
"prima facie anti-Catholic bias", he added.

According to Narayanan, the fault lies not with the
authors of the textbook but with the British-oriented academic
outlook that India has been following for the past few
centuries.
"The English historians have always betrayed their
bias against Catholicism. Being under British rule for long,
we in India have been following the English history
perspective when it comes to European studies," Narayanan, a
former chairman of Indian History Congress, said.

The Education Commission of the Kerala Catholic
Bishops Council (KCBC) has already raised serious objections
to the new textbook, demanding for its withdrawal and alleging
it was part of a "Leftist plot to propagate anti-religion
ideology by looking at history through the Marxian
perspective".

The church has alleged that the book did not contain
the authentic history of the world but the Marxian version by
running down religion in general and Catholicism in
particular.

Corroborating their point, KCBC secretary Fr Philip
Nelpuraparambil, had said yesterday that the chapter titled
`the rise of the modern world` described the Renaissance as an
"intellectual reaction against irrational ideals imposed on
European people by the Catholic church".

According to the Church, ever since the Left came to
power in Kerala for the first time in 1957, it has made
attempts to deride the church and the religious orientation of
all other sections by infusing Marxist ideological contents in
textbooks.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 15:12

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