Days after singer Sonu Nigam sparked outrage on social media saying he was woken up by the sound of azaan from a mosque, a similar case of a Class 6 textbook taught in Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE) schools depicting mosque as a source of noise pollution has come to the fore.
The image has sparked outrage on social media, prompting people to start an online petition against the textbook’s publishers. Reacting to the outrage, the publisher later apologised and promised that the picture would be removed in subsequent editions.
The ICSE, however, maintained the Board does not publish or prescribe textbooks, and that schools had to deal with the issue. Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, said, If any book with objectionable content is being taught at certain schools, it is for schools and publisher to ensure such a thing the does not happen.
The science textbook, published by Selina Publishers, has a chapter on the causes of noise pollution. The picture, shared widely on social media, shows a train, car, plane and a mosque, all with symbols depicting loud sound, next to a man grimacing and shutting his ears.
In his apology on social media, publisher Hemant Gupta said: “This is to inform all concerned that we will be changing the picture in subsequent editions of the book.”
Gupta said the diagram on page 202 of its publication, Integrated Science, consisted of “a structure resembling a portion of a fort and other noise producing objects in a noisy city”. “We do apologise if it has hurt the sentiments of anyone,” he said.
There have been several incidents of controversial content being found in school textbooks in recent months, after which Human Resource Development Ministry has been insisting that all schools use only National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books.
Excerpts from a Class 12 Physical Education textbook taught in some Central Board of Secondary Education schools had kicked up a furore for defining a figure measurement of 36-24-36 as the “best body shape for females”.
A Class 4 environmental science textbook that suggested killing a kitten as part of an experiment went viral on social media, forcing the publisher to withdraw it from the market earlier this year.