Remember when PM Modi said, 'Those creating violence, can be identified with their clothes itself' and when BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya took it a step ahead and said he could identify Bangladeshis by their preference for poha? If you think all of this is alarming then wait till you see an Indian school book leaf recently shared by a Twitter user that reeks of cultural misinterpretation and seems like the easiest way of feeding problematic stereotypes to school-going children:
Suhana Rao took to Twitter recently, flabbergasted by the highly misinformed image on a Kannada couple from a school textbook that basically aims to educate students on languages. And while there could have been a plethora of ways to describe the languages of India and their diverse beauty, the editors decided to go with illustrations of people and things went problematic right there.
Twitterati were equally enraged by the misinformation and the repercussions it will have on the young, impressionable mind of the school children. Here's what they had to say:
People quickly called out the textbook editors as well the Indian education system for the highly misappropriated illustrations of Indians from the different parts of the country.
For instance, while the Kannada speaking couple in the textbook has been dressed in what looks like outfits suggestive of Christianity, Kashmiri speaking woman has been dressed in a hijab and the man has been given a skull cap and beard.
why is bengali guy not smiling?— Ashish Vyas (@ashivyas) February 24, 2020
And Kashmiri as only Muslims 😕— 𑆮𑆴𑆮𑆼𑆑 𑆑𑆼𑆩𑆫𑆮𑇅𑆤𑆵 🍁 (@V____KesarWani) February 25, 2020
Why are telugu people so dark there..— IndianLion🇮🇳 (@iamnone108) February 24, 2020
Who the hell dresses like that!? Not even Christians dress like that.— vakibs (@vakibs) February 24, 2020
Where is Tamil? Kashmiri is only muslim ?— krithika sivaswamy (@krithikasivasw) February 25, 2020
Even gujaratis very proudly wear hallmarks of being Hindus..— C@cofonix (@Cacofonix1008) February 24, 2020
All things aside, the question we have is do we really have to look a certain way to speak Hindi? The textbook illustration depicts Hindi speaking people in India dressed like the archetypical Brahmin and we are really flabbergasted with the layers of problematic ideologies embedded blatantly in school textbooks in India!
On one hand, we have aggressive political narratives insisting that speaking Hindi has to be a prerequisite to being an Indian (let's not even get started on that!) and on the other side, we are teaching impressionable school children that the Hindi speaking population in India dresses up a certain way.
Very poor level of education being provided to the budding generations. "Hindi" - it is the attire of a brahmin residing anywhere in India; "kashmiri" attire is also wrong.— Anil Raghavendra (@Raghu6117) February 26, 2020
We are in the dire need of sensitive and more responsible filtering of the content that goes into Indian textbooks and we also need to keep political narratives away from the educational system.
None of these look authentic, KG level knowledgeable has drawn these— SAJJANRAJ (@SAJJANRAJP) February 25, 2020
when Education is handled by incompetent netas at the central level---what else can be expected.— failedronin (@failedronin) February 25, 2020
It is high time we stop meddling with the education we are imparting to our children as per our whims.
Education needs jock reforms in India— AB.. (@pathbreaker09) February 25, 2020