Ahmedabad: A misprint in a Class 9 schoolbook, because of which Jesus Christ is described as a "haivan" or demon, has caused a controversy in Gujarat. The state government's department in charge of textbooks has admitted to the blooper and withdrawn the Hindi books. It has also ordered an inquiry into how the mistake crept in.
The mistake has offended Christian groups.
Chapter 16 in the textbook, titled 'Bharatiya Sanskriti Mein Guru Shishya Sambandh (the teacher-student relationship in Indian culture) says: "Is sambandh me haivaan Isa ka ek kathan sada smaraniya hai (In this context, one statement of demon Jesus is memorable). Jesus Christ is then quoted as saying, "My followers are much greater than me and I am not worthy enough to even be their shoe."
The state government has said it was a simple typo as in the rest of the chapter, the word Bhagwan (God) is prefixed to Jesus Christ.
"It's a mistake and we have acknowledged it and apologised for this inadvertent mistake. We have asked for a correction and instituted an inquiry,'' said state education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.
The spokesperson of Catholic Church of Gujarat, Father Vinayak Jhadav, said 2.5 lakh text books already circulated in the schools should be withdrawn too. "It looks like a typo. But it reflects poorly on the quality of education. How can the board without proper vetting allow such a mistake which hurts the sentiments of a community? It also wrongly attributes a quote to Jesus Christ,'' said Father Vinayak.
The Catholic church had reported the mistake to the chairman of the Gujarat state board, the principal secretary of education and the chairman of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions. "There was no clarification from the board. Even now we haven't officially got a response from the board on this. This shows how casual the government is on this serious issue,'' said Father Vinayak.