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India: SAHMAT statement on the textbook cartoon controversy

by Sahmat, 15 May 2012

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SAHMAT

Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust

29, Feroze Shah Road,New Delhi-110001

Telephone- 23381276/ 23070787

e-mail-sahmat8@yahoo.com

15.5.2012

STATEMENT ON CARTOON CONTROVERSY

We the undersigned are concerned that Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Human Resource Development, made an ex cathedra announcement, that the cartoon in the Class XI text book, found offensive by several members of Parliament, would be removed, and that he was looking into other potentially offensive cartoons with a view to their possible removal.Whatever be the merits of the case against the cartoon, the matter should not be treated as one of mere executive discretion. This
establishes the kind of precedent that should be avoided. Such issues
are bound to come up from time to time, therefore appropriate
procedures have to be followed, such as the setting up of a Committee
of academics to look into each case, so that summary judgments of the
ministers concerned, under political pressures of various kinds, do
not determine the contents of our academic syllabi.

We strongly condemn the vandalism perpetrated by a group of people in the office of Professor Suhas Palshikar, one of the Advisors for the textbook. Such vandalism is fundamentally antithetical to the
democratic values cherished by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar for which he is
justly revered by all Indians.

Romila Thapar Prabhat Patnaik Zoya Hasan,

Amitabh Kundu Mushirul Hasan C.P. Chandrasekar

Pralay Kanungo Gopal Guru Jayati Ghosh

Ram Rahman N.K.Sharma Sudhanva Deshpande

Rajendra Prasad P.K.Shukla M.K.Raina

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