Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BJP mouthpiece quotes Modi to say Batra books, criticized for spreading fundamentalism, are "exemplary"

"Manogat" quotes Modi to praise Batra
By Our Representative
The BJP’s Gujarati mouthpiece, “Manogat”, has quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as justifying Dinanath Batra’s controversial nine books, which have been officially introduced as “extra readings” in the state’s schools by the Gujarat State School Textbook Board, as exemplary. The monthly, in its latest August issue (click HERE to download), quotes Modi congratulating Batra for his books first published as Prarnadeep series in Hindi, calling them “exemplary", and adding, he “admires” the effort, and “hopes” that Batra’s “commendable literature” inspires children and teachers.
Seeking to suggest that Batra’s books are just an effort towards “character building”, Modi’s signed message, apparently lifted from a Batra book, says, “The ultimate aim of education and knowledge is to build human being’s character”, adding, “Children are innocent and guiltless and are full of emotions. They by nature try to follow others. They consider parents and teachers as their ideal… It is necessary that seeds of moral culture are sown at an early age, so that at the later stage they acquire the dimension of a banyan tree, and they turn into intelligent and cultured citizens.”
Devoting four pages, which are apparently excerpts from Batra’s books (the monthly doesn’t specify), “Manogat” in an unsigned piece, interestingly, blames the Congress party for seeking to “project” life-inspiring incidents as “saffronization”. The Congress, notably, began criticizing Batra’s books much later after several newspapers and TV channels, starting with Indian Express, exposed their content, with a large number of experts giving their comments on them.
“Introducing” Batra, and offering the list of 11 books which are under attack from experts for seeking to spread superstition among children, “Manogat” says, “Batra went to jail for seven times for taking a leading part in the arena of educational reforms. Recently, he extensively traveled for in order to propagate the values of Indian culture and natural life, which have become symbols of progress over the last two decades.”  
The journal also quotes Gujarat education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma as justifying Batra’s books, calling them “examples of national inspiration”, adding, they provide “graphic evidence” from history about individuals who have become “immortal” through “exemplary courage, polite behaviour, dedication to religion, and achievements.” The tales about these individuals have been told in a “very simple language” and there is “no talk about secularism anywhere”, the minister, who claims to be extremely close to Modi, adds.
Batra shot into prominence following his campaign against American scholar Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism, which let the top publishers Penguins to withdraw it from Indian market. Later, he sent a legal notice to another publisher about a book on modern Indian history which led the publisher to begin a review of some of its books, including one on sexual violence during riots in Ahmedabad. The books were released by minister Chudasma for Gujarat schools in March.
Batra, in his books, calls celebrating birthdays by blowing candles “a western tradition”, which should be “shunned”, and instead asks children to “wear clothes manufactured in India,  recite  Gayatri Mantra, take part in religious ceremonies, feed cows” on that day. He says that motorcars were invented in India during the Vedic period (1500 to 500 BCE), that stem cell research was invented in India thousands of years ago, that Indian sages have been using television for centuries, and that the word “shudra” was introduced by the British.
One of the books exposes his anti-black views. It reads, “The aircraft was flying thousands of feet high in the sky. A very strongly built negro reached the rear door and tried to open it. The air-hostesses tried to stop him but the strongly built negro pushed the soft-bodied hostesses to the floor and shouted, ‘Nobody dare move a step ahead’. An Indian grabbed the negro and he could not escape. The pilot and the Indian together thrashed the negro and tied him up with a rope. Like a tied buffalo, he frantically tried to escape but could not. The plane landed safely in Chicago. The negro was a serious criminal in the Chicago records and this brave Indian was an employee of Air India” (Prernadeep-2). 

No comments: