Adivasis in primary textbooks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 22, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 22, 2012


Adivasis in primary textbooks

Wrong information and emphasis should be avoided

The fact that primary textbooks still contain some wrong and misleading information about the cultural identity of the country's indigenous communities comes as a shocking piece of news. All the more so because the present government believes in respect for the minorities.
Speakers at a roundtable in the city emphasised on Thursday that it not only falls short of recognising the contribution they make to the country's development and overall culture but will also leave an unhealthy impression on the young minds which may stand in the way of cementing communal harmony. For it is at the primary level that right messages would have to be imbibed by the pupils.
Indigenous communities have different language and ethos of their own and they have every right to cultivate their ways of living. Their rights to keeping to their differences are even recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We should not forget that as well as adding a colourful dimension to our national culture, they play a very important role in our economic growth.
We note that some chapters in the textbooks provide wrong information about their clothing and focus more on their food habit than on their human qualities. All these portray them in a light that may infuse in the young students a mental distance with other communities, and not be helpful in ensuring co-existence among them.
Therefore, we strongly urge the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) to have those chapters revised so as to ensure a positive portrayal of all indigenous communities.

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