Education department gives birth to a controversy

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Bangalore (Karnataka), September 4, 2012: The revised eighth standard Social Science textbook of the state syllabus has angered the Jain community, who say that the chapter on Mahaveera provides wrong information about the Jain saint and carries a wrong picture.

The lesson number 5 “Birth of New Religions” deals with formation of Jainism and Buddhism. The book states that the Jain tirthankara was married.

The last paragraph of the lesson states, “Vardhamana (Mahaveera was born so) was born in Kundala Grama village in Vaishali, one of the republics. His father was Siddartha the king of the Gnatrika tribe. His mother was Trishala Devi, the princess of the republic of Lichchavi. Vardhamana was married to Yashodhara. At the age of 30 Vardhamana went out in search of truth and renounced his family and house. He wandered for 12 years in this quest and meditated. He punished his body by fasting. At the age of 42 he achieved enlightenment…”

Even the picture that appears in the lesson is wrong. It carries an image of Parshvanath (the 23rd Jain tirthankara), instead of Mahavira.

Dharmastala Surendra Kumar, National Executive president of Bharatiya Jain Mela said, “It is wrong information about the life of Vardhamana. We are representing the same to the state government to make correction. We are also going to meet the concerned minister soon.” He hoped the corrections will be carried out or “we will be forced to stage protest.” Kumar said, “While providing information on historical, mythological and religious issues, one should be aware what they are saying. It really hurts.”

D Shashi Kumar, founder of Blossoms School said, “The Jain community is peace loving, but one should not take the advantage of that.” The information provided on Vardhamana’s life in the text book is wrong and the state government should revisit it, he added.

However, the committee which designed the text books justified the information provided in it. Dr GS Mudambadittaya said there is a difference between how Shwethambaras and Digambaras (the two prominent sects of Jainism) see it. “According to Shwethambaras he was married and we have carried the information accordingly.” – News Courtesy: DNA India

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Post Author: JHC