By Karen Diep
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
NEW DELHI, India – New Healthway, a book focusing on health and hygiene, is stirring public criticism against the government. The book, which aims at eleven and twelve year olds, accuses meat-eaters of “easily cheat[ing]” and “commit[ting] sex crimes.”
This has led academics pressing the Indian government to exercise more caution in regulating press and activists protesting in response to such infringement against press.
“The strongest argument that meat is not essential food is the fact that the Creator of this Universe did not include meat in the original diet for Adam and Eve. He gave them fruits, nuts and vegetables,” reads the chapter entitled “Do We Need Flesh Food?”
The book further examines the alleged benefits of vegetarianism and continues to list characteristics found in non-vegetarians. “[Non-vegetarians] easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes,” read an except from New Healthway.
Another passage reads, “The Arabs who helped in constructing the Suez Canal lived on wheat and dates and were superior to the beef-fed Englishmen engaged in the same work.”
According to a 2001 consensus, approximately 80 percent of India’s population is Hindu and 13 percent are Muslim, and due to religious purposes, Hindus do not consume beef and Islam forbids pork consumption.
It is unknown the extent to which New Healthway has been purchased and circulated amongst schools in India. Nonetheless, faculty are more worried that such a book is available to their students.
“This is poisonous for children,” shared Janaki Rajan, a faculty member at Jamia Millia University, to BBC News. “The government has the power to take action, but they are washing their hands of it,” continued Ms. Rajan.
However, others have stated that schools have the utmost responsibility to monitor and regulate textbooks in the classroom.
According to the Huffington Post, a representative for India’s Central Board for Secondary Education relayed to NDTV that schoolbooks are not monitored for content.
Moreover, Principle Annie Koshy of St Mary’s school in New Delhi, where New Healthway is not used, further relayed to NDTV that although the CBSE recommends some publishers, such do not produce particularly good books. “It’s a great way for us to actually see whether teachers are reading the books and teaching what the books say,” said Mr. Koshy.
Although BBC News has requested to speak to the publishers, S. Chand, no response was given.
For further information, please see:
BBC News – India textbook says meat-eaters lie and commit sex crimes – 16 November 2012
CBS News – India text teaches meat-eaters “commit sex crimes” – 16 November 2012
Huffington Post – ‘Meat-Eaters Lie, Cheat And Commit Sex Crimes,’ Claims Indian School textbook – 16 November 2012