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Book row over Ayodhya monkeys reference

Apr 18, 2008 09:11 AM IST India India

Ahmedabad: Though the BJP might claim there is Ram rajya under Modi's rule in Gujarat, things are actually a bit different. This time, there is controversy brewing over a textbook. The textbook, prescribed by the Gujarat State Board, says that after Ram returned to Ayodhya, the monkeys began creating havoc there. On their part, the students who use the book are facing some doubt over the chapter, too. Vikram Singh, a student in Class 9 in Surat is studying for his final exams. But a chapter by the late Harishankar Parsai is leaving him deeply confused and unable to fathom the satire on the Ayodhya of Lord Ram. "We were told a different version. This exam, they asked about the monkeys. I wrote that they were creating havoc. We are confused,” Vikram told CNN-IBN. It is not just students; many others don't find the satire all that funny in Gujarat. Shashimanu Ramyogi of Saket Ashram in Surat has now shot off a legal notice to the state government for the chapter in textbooks under the Gujarat Education Board. "Satire is okay, but not with religion. Ram is sacrosanct and this cannot be tolerated," Ramyogi maintains. His advocate, Mangala Patel corroborates this. "We have sent a notice to the School Textbook Board, the education minister and district education authorities. We will wait for a response and then decide what to do," said Patel. The Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks says it has not received the notice, but defends the chapter "There is no attempt to hurt the feelings of any religion of person. This is just a satirical story for the society," maintains GSBSP Director, Madhubhai A Patel. This lesson in the class IX Hindi textbook is being taught since April 2005, but now, it looks like it's time for the death of satire here. With inputs from Kinnari Patel