Mosque Shown As Noise Pollutant In Class 6 Textbook, Sparks Controversy

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Mosque Shown As Noise Pollutant In Class 6 Textbook, Sparks Controversy

Social media users have launched an online petition demanding the book be withdrawn.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. An image about the causes of noise pollution has a mosque in the backdrop
  2. In its apology, the publisher said the "structure resembles a fort"
  3. Sonu Nigam had stoked a debate when he said he was woken up by 'azaan'
A science textbook prescribed for Class 6 in certain schools under ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) board has identified a "mosque" as a source of noise pollution, sparking a row.

An illustration on the chapter on pollution shows a train, car, plane and a mosque with symbols depicting loud sound. A man in the foreground is seen grimacing and covering his ears.

The ICSE says the board did not publish or prescribe these textbooks, and it is up to the schools to deal with the issue. "If any book with objectionable content is being taught at certain schools, it is for schools and publisher to ensure such a thing does not happen," news agency Press Trust of India quoted Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, as saying.

After social media users launched an online petition, demanding the book be withdrawn, the publisher acknowledged the mistake and apologised. He has also assured that the illustration will be removed in subsequent editions.

Hemant Gupta of Selina Publishers, in their apology, said the picture 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.

Recently, artiste Sonu Nigam stoked a debate with his tweets against the use of loudspeakers at mosques for "azaan" - call for prayers. Mr Nigam had even shaved his head in response to a "fatwa" issued by a Muslim cleric.

Over the last few months, content considered objectionable made its way to several textbooks, raising concerns about what students are being exposed to. Last month, controversy started after a Class 9 Hindi textbook was found to refer to Jesus Christ as a demon.

In April, a Class 12 textbook on physical education suggested feminine proportions of 36-24-36 as being ideal. A Class 4 Environmental Studies textbook, while educating students on the importance of breathing, gave a practical example that shows how children can suffocate a cat to death. Another book said meat-eaters cheat, lie and commit sex crimes.

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