Thursday, June 29, 2006

60 years of Martyrdom of Vasant & Rajab

DATE : 29th June 2006

DATE : 29th June 2006

The 60 years of Martyrdom of Vasant & Rajab


The 60 years of Martyrdom of Vasant-Rajab will be completed on Saturday, 1st July 2006. These two youngsters had sacrificed their lives during the communal riots in Ahmedabad in 1946. To commemorate the 60th year of Martyrdom of Vasant - Rajab, various programmes will be organized in the State through the year by : Movement for Secular Deocracy, Akhil Bhartiya Sevadal, Gujarat Sarvoday Mandal, AWAG, PRASHANT, Janpath, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Cultural Educational Forum, Gandhi Peace Foundation and others.

Programmes :

30th June 2006

A Seminar " Reimagining the City, Reimagining the Nation " will be organized by ANHAD at the CC Mehta Auditorium, MS University, Vadodara from 9.30 am. to 5.30 pm. Thereafter, “A cultural Tribute to Vasant-Rajab - An Evening of Dance, Poetry and Music” will be held from 7.30 pm. onwards. Dhruv Sangari, Gauhar Raza, Khalil Dhantejvi, Saba Azad Grewal and Mehneer Sudan will be the artistes performing at this cultural event.

1st July 2006 - Morning

On Saturday, 1st July 2006, a Vasant-Rajab Calendar will be released by Sevadal, in the presence of Shri Brahmakumar Bhatt and Shri Prakash N. Shah at Sardar Congress Bhavan, Bhadra, Ahmedabad, at 9.00 am. and then, a rally will be taken out to Vasant-Rajab Memorial Chowk, Khand-ni-Sheri, Jamalpur, to join the Tribute Programme.

Afternoon - Release of Book on Vasant-Rajab
On Saturday, 1st July 2006, evening, at 5.00 o'clock, a programme jointly organized by various organizations will be held in Upasana Khand, Gujarat Vidyapeeth. The programme will be presided over by the Gujarat Vidyapeeth KulNayak, Shri Sudarshan Iyengar. A book written by Shri Prakash N. Shah on Vasant-Rajab, depicting their lives and time, will be released. The first copy will be presented to families of Vasant and Rajab.

Songs and speeches paying rich tribute to Vasant-Rajab will be presented.

Programmes outside Ahmedabad

Mehmadabad :
On Saturday, 1st July 2006, the organizers of Vasant-Rajab Academy will meet and chalk out the year-long programmes at Mehmadabad, Kheda District.
Vadodara :
On Sunday, 2nd July, under the auspices of Movement for Secular Democracy, PUCL and others, a Memorial Meeting will be held in the evening at 5.00 o'clock at Bhailal Amin Hall in Vadodara. The Meeting will be presided by Shri Manubhai Patel - President, Akhil Hind Sevadal and Ex-Member of Parliament. Shri Prakash N. Shah, Editor "Nireekshak" will address the meeting.

Centenary Year :
In the coming months, various programmes will be organized in Surat and Bhavnagar.
This is the birth centenary year of Vasant Rao Hegishte, and to commemorate this occasion, various programmes will be organized in Ahmedabad.
Prof. Abid Shamsi is translating the Vasant-Rajab book into English. A Hindi translation will also be done.

Demand for Postage Stamp :
Apart from all these programmes, in a letter to the Central Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Shri Dayanidhi Maran, the Movement for Secular Democracy has requested that a special postal stamp in memory of Vasant-Rajab be brought out. It has also requested the Gujarat State Education Department to include a chapter on Vasant-Rajab in the syllabus of the School Textbooks.

Essay Competition :
An Essay Competition on communal problems and national unity will be organized in a few days, for students and citizens and the best essays will be rewarded on 10th December 2006, International Human Rights Day.

Issued by
Movement for Secular Democracy (M.S.D.)
C/o. Narmad Meghani Library, Opp. Natraj Railway Crossing, Mithakhali, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad-380006.
Ph.No. (079) 26404418

Supported by :
Akhil Bhartiya Sevadal, Gujarat Sarvoday Mandal, AWAG, PRASHANT, Janpath, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Cultural Educational Forum and Gandhi Peace Foundation

Thursday, June 15, 2006



PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad based Centre for Human Rights Justice and Peace has Bcalled for the immediate withdrawal of the Std. X Social Science Textbook recently published by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks and which is meant to be studied by the final year students from the academic year which has just begun.

In letters addressed to the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks (to the Director and the Executive President), Fr. Cedric Prakash the Director of PRASHANT states that “anybody reading this Textbook will recoil in horror at the mistakes on almost every single page”. He asserted that since the Board might have to publish a whole new book entitled “ERRATA” the easier thing would be to withdraw the book immediately and unconditionally.

The Textbook is galore with mistakes, bad language, spelling and grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies and even statements that are highly manipulative.

  • Man has made a great progress right from he primitive stage to the modern day (of buildings ubtly passing jet planes and the flight of Satellite.) All these can be included as our ‘Culture’. (pg. 1)
  • Culture is journey of man from cave (darkness) to home (light). (pg. 1)
  • Indian culture is proud of its natural inheritance as like : the Himalayas, the river Ganga, the Yamuna, the Saraswati, the Sindhu and the Kaveri. It also a varity and rare emotions, and feelings, knowledge, devotion and deeds. (pg. 1)
  • India is a county of people of great tolerance. There is no place for war, battle or strife in Indian culture The emphasis has been land on achieving peace all around. (development peace) The words ‘Om Shanti … Shanti’ uttered at the end of any prayer, supports it. (pg. 2)
  • India deed not behave in invasion or war to propagate its culture, religion, ideology or any other thing. It treated all living creatures with same equality and compassion. (pg. 2) (cfr. page 215….where it is said “In the Indian Constitutions provision have been made to prevent caste based exploitation to wipe out the injustice to them….) From early times, people of India have assigned divinity for animals, rivers and mountains. We worship them considering them to be holy. Similarly we consider papal, banyan and tulsi as holy and reverential. Some birds and animals are accepted as the vehicles of Gods and Goddesses. It is only because of this that retreat them with respect and faith. Due to this, Indian culture has made a unique impression in the entire world. Some example of these can be found in ‘Jataka Kathas’ of Buddhism. (pg. 3)
  • Nature has endowed India generously. In the courage of Indian history to nature has played a prominent part. (pg. 3)
  • Landscapes :Beautiful landscapes are generally formed due to shapes of land. For example, the Himalayas is a land-shape. But it has endowed Indians abundantly with brimming rivers, streams, forests of Terai and its pilgrimage places, which can be consedned landscapes. The landscapes have greatly influenced the professions of people, their lifestyle, customs and way of life. Since Aryans, the mountains have been considered to be adorable and holy amongst various elements of nature. Since ancient time, the Himalayas range has been a part of Indian heritage. (pg. 3)
  • Wildlife : Indians love nature and animals since ancient times. Indians have realized the importance of wildlife – elephants, rhinoceros, tiger…..They have contributed greatly in making Indian culture varied. It is a well-known fact that the value of the tusk of a dead elephant and the leather of a dead tiger and lion are immense. But we have realized their values. So the preservation of wildlife, laws are framed and sanctuaries are established. This is endent by the fact, that the National emblem of India has in it lions, deers. (pg. 4)
  • They could even stop blood circulation with bowl-shaped bandage. They could operate on abdomen, kidney, cataract, hernia, stone, bladder, etc. They could also cure piles, join the broken or displaced bones and extract the things pierced into the body easily and skillfully. They had knowledge of plastic surgery as well joining nose and ears. They showed a keen interest in teaching students the method of surgery. (pgs. 39 and 40)
  • The Christians missionaries of Portugal came to India to spread Christianity. (pg. 48)
  • In the modern times, the people of India should great tolerance and brotherhood, towards the Dutch and English people. On account of the values and traditions that our culture stands for the torchbearers of ancient India, also stressed the need for cultural unity. (pg. 58)
  • In short, unity in diversity is the special feature of Indian thought and philosophy. In every age, the people of India have conserved this quality and have enhanced it. (pg. 58)
  • In short, watershed area is a basin of tributary rivers. (pg. 99)
  • Narrow gauge tracks are laid in areas with sparse population or where there the need is not very great. Due to the difference in the gauges, continuous journey and the movement of goods consumes more time and money. (pg. 136)
  • Killer diseases like plague, small pox, leprosy, etc. have been eradicated. (pg. 204)
  • On women : Provide work in farm and farm related activities, dig mines and stones, and open areas of employment like electricity, gas, water, and construction. (pg. 208)
  • Man follows any religion. It is not communalism to follow any religion. (pg. 212)
  • The concept of casteism was different earlier than what it is today. (pg. 213)
  • There is no specific definition for minority in the Indian Constitution. (pg. 214)
  • The right to religion, especially to minorities, assures them that they can undertake the propaganda for spread and encouragement of their religion The law does not accept forceful religious conversion. Any educational institution, taking government grant, cannot preach religious teachings. (pg. 214)
  • Citizens were never a target (during the British days). The violent acts were scattered and individual. (pg. 220)
  • Some factors which stimulate insurgency are : many tribal communities...(pg. 220)
  • Corruption includes gofts, cheating and biased attitude…..It is not to the corrupt politicians, corrupt government officials trade or industry but it has spread in all the fields of the society. Corruption enhances criminal meantality. (pg. 232)

The above (including the spelling mistakes and the wrong grammar) is just a sampling of the mistakes, inaccuracies, distortions which are in the Textbook of Std. X in almost every page.
For the State Textbook Board, merely to send a GR highlighting some mistakes is not sufficient. The book must immediately and unconditionally be withdrawn. In 2004, PRASHANT had highlighted several inaccuracies with regard to the Std. VIII Social Science Textbook. The Gujarat State Textbook Board paid no heed to that.
In 2005, after the publishing of the new Textbook for Std. IX, together with several concerned citizens of Gujarat, PRASHANT highlighted serious flaws in the book, very specially the importance given to a person like Hitler.
A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Gujarat High Court but this was rejected by the learned Court, inspite of a massive campaign, saying that if we approached the Board, they would do the necessary changes, but till today, nothing has been done. The very books that had been published for Std. VIII and IX are back in the hands of the students all over the State of Gujarat.
Together with several other concerned citizens of Gujarat, drawn from all walks of life, PRASHANT calls upon the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Social Science Textbooks of Stds. X, IX and VIII.