In a “printing error”, roza or fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan has been explained as “an infectious disease in which one suffers from diarrhoea and vomiting” in a Class IV Hindi textbook of the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB). This comes days after the GSSTB drew strong criticism over a derogatory reference to Jesus Christ in its Class IX Hindi textbook.
The error was spotted on page number 13 at the end of chapter three — a story ‘Idgah’ by Premchand — of the Class IV Hindi textbook for Hindi-medium students. The definition of the second word ‘roza’ in shabdarth (meaning) was given as “ek chaatak tatha sankramak rog jisme dast aur kaai ati hai (an infectious disease that leads to diarrhoea and vomiting)”.
When contacted, GSSTB chairman Nitin Pethani said, “This is a printing error. There should be haiza (cholera) in place of roza, but mistakenly both these words have been inter-changed.”
While this textbook has been part of the curriculum since 2015, Pethani claimed there was no such error in the earlier edition. He said the error cropped up in the print edition of 2017.
“We will issue a correction for Hindi-medium schools… Not more than 15,000 copies of this textbook were published due to limited number of Hindi-medium students,” said Pethani.
While GSSTB officials denied having received an official complaint from any organisation or individual, Ahmedabad-based Right to Education (RTE) Forum, led by Mujahid Nafees, said the matter would be taken up with higher authorities. “The Forum has planned to submit a complaint to the GSSTB and the state government… errors regarding religions will not be accepted… action must be taken against those involved,” said Nafees.