Sumaiya Yousuf| TNN |
BHOPAL: With Indian and Chinese troops standing eyeball to eyeball at Doklam, a Sanskrit book being taught in several CBSE-affiliated schools in Madhya Pradeshis telling students that India won the 1962 war.
“What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” this is the sweeping claim in the Sanskrit textbook ‘Sukritika’, volume-3, meant for class 8 students.
Published by the Lucknow-based, Kriti Prakashan Pvt Ltd, the book is written by five authors, including professor Umesh Prasad Rastogi and grammar expert Somdut Shukla, both of whom have passed away.
The three others include Madhu Singh, Lalita Sengar and Nisha Gupta. The bizarre misinformation appears in the eighth chapter, titled, ‘Shri Jawaharlal Nehru‘. Listing Nehru’s achievements, it narrates how the first PM of India mobilised forces and morale after China invaded India. “During Jawaharlal Nehru’s tenure as Prime Minister, China waged war against India in the year 1962. With efforts of Nehru, India defeated China,” the book says. And thousands of schoolkids are growing up with this distortion of history. The 1962 War took India by surprise and although Indian soldiers often fought to the last man and last round, it was a Chinese victory.
TOI tried repeatedly to contact the publishers but there was no answer. The three other authors couldn’t be contacted. The head of Sanskrit department of Lucknow University, Ram Sumir Yadav, told TOI that Prof Rastogi passed away last year.
“I can’t comment on what he has written in the book,” he said. Teachers and parents are outraged by this misinformation in a school textbook. Madhya Pradesh Parents’ Association secretary Prabodh Pandya said: “This is exactly what we have been fighting over for years but unfortunately our pleas fell on deaf ears. How much proof does government need to say no to books by private publishers? Isn’t this blooper serious enough to make NCERT books mandatory?” said Pandya.