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Indian history sparks UK book row

Indian history sparks UK book row

Britain’s History Curriculum Association has also objected to stating "Churchill's view of Gandhi as a 'half-naked fakir."

London: Britain’s History Curriculum Association (HCA) has raised some startling objections to the general tone of new chapters on Indian history taught in the school curriculum in Britain.

Association Director Chris McGovern has criticised the new history curriculum over the fact that teachers were told to direct pupils to Internet sites with links to material on the gender perspective of the history of India and 'Indian genders and sexualities'.

"The references to the Kamasutra and ‘Indian genders’ were part of a misguided attempt to encourage children to understand history from different view points," The Telegraph quoted McGovern as saying.

He also spotted errors of fact in portraying Churchill in a bad light. The curriculum states that "Churchill viewed Gandhi as a 'half-naked fakir' which contrasts the popular acclaim Gandhi received."

According to McGovern, "Churchill in fact said in 1931 about Gandhi that he was 'posing as a fakir' and that he strode 'half-naked up the steps of the vice regal palace."

The association has said that the general tone of new chapters on Indian history during the British Rule included in the school curriculum, was 'anti-British' and it's silent on the positive consequences of the imperial rule.

"Children need to learn about British history, but also need to improve their knowledge of the events that shaped the world we live in. Learning more about the recent history of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can help children better understand the legacy of the British Empire, providing an important and valuable insight into the history of their own country," McGovern says.

The new chapters have been included in school curriculum for pupils aged between 12 and 14. The association has accused the British Government's curriculum advisers of a 'politically correct' interpretation of Britain’s imperial past based on false claims about Winston Churchill.

first published:December 27, 2006, 13:00 IST