“Lord Ram belongs to not any one community, but to the whole Bharat. Whenever there is an attempt to vilify the characters of Ram and Sita, I am as hurt as everyone else. Those who are distorting the history and insulting the faith of the nation cannot be pardoned,? said former Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha Dr Najma Heptullah. She was addressing a convention of women organised in New Delhi by Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti on July 26. Noted writer and former chairperson of Central Social Welfare Board Smt. Mridula Sinha, former Principal of Kalindi College Smt. Malti and advocate in Delhi High Court Smt. Monika Arora also addressed the convention.
Dr Heptullah said what is being taught to students in schools and colleges today hurts the faith of millions of people. ?Nobody whether he is a writer or a painter has the right to hurt the sentiments of 100 crore people by denigrating Sri Ram and Sita. M.F. Husain painted Hindu gods and goddess in outrageous and desecrated manner. People approached me to support his deeds, perhaps because he is a Muslim. But I told them that freedom of expression is limited to the point until it does not hurt others. I cannot condone an attack on the faith of any community. If Husain wishes to paint women in nude even at this age of 90, why doesn'the paint his own mother, sister, wife and daughter in the nude? He must apologise to the nation for his misdeeds. I am surprised at the fact that you people are sitting so quietly; why don'tyou do something? You must protest strongly and launch a campaign against such activities. I am always with you,? she added.
She pointed out that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad wanted to give more importance to education than defence after Independence. ?He was proud of the cultural greatness of Bharat. That is why he got the Ramayana and the Mahabharata translated into Urdu and Persian so that the Urdu and Persian-speaking people of the neighbouring countries could read the great epics and infuse good samskars into themselves. But those translations could not be published till now, thanks to ?secularism? of the Congress,? she said.
Smt. Malti said that it is a time-tested strategy, effectively used by the Britishers to destroy the education system of a society in order to heap insult on our self-respect, culture and all the things that we have been proud of. The Britishers used this strategy to make us slave?they propounded a twisted version of our history, our culture and traditions in such a way that we started feeling inferior and felt ashamed of ourselves. ?Don'twait for any saviour. Initiate yourself to save your culture, otherwise it will be too late,? she said.
Smt. Mridula Sinha appealed to the parents to reject the distorted textbooks being taught to their children in schools and colleges. ?We want our children to learn that Sita was a pious and powerful woman who should be a role model for all young girls. Lakshman is that model brother-in-law who respected Sita. Ram is that ideal man who is in our heart as the most revered. The manner in which Muslims have been described in the textbooks makes it evident that there is a concerted attempt to create a rift between communities and weaken the structure of the society. The books should instead promote brotherhood and respect everyone,? she added.
Smt. Monika Arora provided graphic details of all the objectionable portions in DU textbooks. She gave examples of how universities take immediate action when examination papers ask anything that could hurt the sentiments of Muslims and other religions. Then why is it that when Hindu sentiments are hurt, it is freedom of expression, and when anything affects other religions, it is a criminal offence? She said the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti has been fighting against the dirt and filth being taught in schools and colleges and the regular attempt to hurt the sentiments and vitiate the minds of our young generation.
She appealed to the women to first study themselves the textbooks of their children, list all the objectionable portions, raise the matter in PTA, request the school authorities not to ask questions in exams from the objectionable portions, lodge complaints with the police and when nobody listens file a criminal case in court under Sections 153, 153A, 295, 295A and 252 of IPC for hurting the sentiments.
Addressing the gathering Shri Atul Kothari, joint national convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti said a nationwide signature campaign has been launched against the offensive textbooks and the signatures would be sent to the Minister of Human Resource Development and Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University. He said a delegation of 100 women would meet the Union HRD Minister and Vice-Chancellor and would submit a memorandum highlighting how their sentiments have been hurt.
The women attending the convention unanimously condemned the UPA government and Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University for misrepresenting Indian culture and traditions and demeaning Hinduism through distortions in the textbooks. They warned the University authorities that the offensive textbooks, which have been recommended for BA second year history (hons.) and pass course students, must be immediately withdrawn because they are designed to cripple the minds of the youth and make them irreverent. The women also said their struggle would continue till the Delhi University removes all the offensive portions from the textbooks and replace them with right information.