Mangaluru: A poem recital prescribed in Class 2 textbooks of the Karnataka Education department has drawn the ire of parents and Hindu organizations.
The revised edition of the first language ‘English Reader’ textbook, published by the Karnataka Textbook Society, contains a poem adapted from Rabindranath Tagore’s writings titled ‘Go not to the Temple’. The pro-Hindu organizations in the district alleged that the poem portrays the Hindu religion and its customs in a bad light.
In a nutshell, the poem expounds on the idea that one needs to improve one’s own thinking and behavior rather than only offering prayers before God. It asks the reader to “fill your own house with the fragrance of love”, “learn to bow in humility before your fellowmen”, “bend down to lift someone who is down-trodden”, and “forgive from your heart those who have sinned against you.”
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However, parents of some students opined that the high ideals mentioned in the poem may be suitable for adolescents to comprehend, but is inappropriate for young, impressionable children.
Hindu outfits including the Bajrang Dal objected to the word “Temple” used in the poem and reportedly said that if education wants to instill “ideal of secularism”, then “churches and mosques” should also be mentioned.
Some even asked for the removal of the poem from the textbook. Hindu organizations have urged the state BJP government as well as the education department to withdraw the poem immediately.
A committee headed by litterateur Baragooru Ramachandrappa had recently revised the syllabus of textbooks. Now, page 57 from the revised textbooks is being circulated on social media.