Ahmedabad: An all-India Christian organisation held a protest demonstration outside the office of the District Education Officer against Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB) for offending chapter in Class IX Hindi-language textbook which refers Jesus Christ as ” haivaan” (devil) instead of the intended “bhagwan” (God).
The statement in chapter 16 ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti me guru-shishya sambandh’ on page number 69 reads: “Is sambandh me ‘haivaan Issa’ ka ek kathan sada smaraniya hai. (In this context, a statement by ‘demon Jesus’ is always memorable).”
The Indian Christian Voice, an organisation representing the larger interests of the Christian community in India, demanded that the text book be withdrawn. It said in a statement that the reference has deeply hurt the religious sentiments of both Christians and Muslims.
ICV President Abraham Mathai said.”The Christian community, known worldwide as peace-loving, is deeply offended by the chapter in the textbook prepared by Gujarat State School Textbook Board. We demand criminal action against the perpetrators and an unconditional apology from the state government.”
Executive President of GSSTB Nitin Pethani said.”This was nothing but a printing mistake. Instead of word ‘Bhagwan’, the word ‘haivaan’ got printed. We have already made the correction in the online version. Since books have already been distributed among students, it is not possible to withdraw them now.”
He also said that they will make sure that the corrected version is taught to students.”We will issue a written advisory to all the teachers, asking them to take into account this correction while teaching this subject.” He said.