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Textbook image of Rani Laxmibai smoking hookah sparks row

Publisher has issued an apology for hurting sentiments of teachers,and others concerned.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal |
July 29, 2013 5:40:57 am

An image of Rani Laxmibai smoking hookah has landed a publisher in trouble,forcing it to stop further distribution of the class V books carrying the controversial image.

Headquartered in Hyderabad,Orient Blackswan Private Limited has asked its distributors across the country to replace the image with those more engraved in popular memory,like the one with the queen on horseback with her child tied to her back or the one in which she sports a sword.

The book,SuCCEss with Getting Ahead in Social Studies-5,carries the image in chapter 18 which is devoted to India’s first war of Independence; the accompanying text glorifies her role.

“It was an error and we decided to rectify it as soon as it was brought to our notice,’’ Manager (sales and marketing),Bikram Kumar Das told The Indian Express from Hyderabad,admitting that more than 10,000 copies could have already been sold.

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The publisher has issued an apology for hurting sentiments of students,teachers,parents,educational institutions and others concerned.

The ‘error’ was first spotted in CBSE-affiliated R D Public School in Betul,Madhya Pradesh,where a couple of students reportedly asked their teachers and parents what the image meant.

“We were yet to teach the chapter to students because it comes towards the end of the book. We have taken the books back from all the students,’’ said vice-principal Ashok Dehria,adding that “unlike the image,the content is very good”.


Sensing trouble,the school got in touch with the publisher and told students that if the publisher did not replace the image/books,the management would buy new books from its own funds.

Dehria called it a ‘printing error’.

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First published on: 29-07-2013 at 05:40:57 am

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