A controversy has erupted over the omission of the words 'Secular' and 'Socialist' from the preamble of the Indian Constitution published on the cover page of a school textbook in Telangana.
The error was noticed in the Class 10 social studies textbook published by the Telangana State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) for the academic year 2023-24.
Teachers were shocked to find that the words 'Secular' and 'Socialist' were missing from the image of the preamble published on the cover page of the textbooks for both Telugu and English mediums.
Though the SCERT clarified that the change was unintentional, political parties and educationists have called the error a grave one and demanded the authorities to immediately take corrective steps.
Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) leader M. Kodandaram called it a 'grave error'.
"Children go by printed words. They take them seriously. Even if parents try to convince them, they won't get convinced. The printed words have a tremendous impact on the minds of the students at a tender age. The authorities should be extremely careful while publishing the text books," Kodandaram told IANS.
The former professor of Osmania University said the authorities concerned should have double checked the image before printing it.
"I think it's a case of negligence. Normally, when they send something for printing, proof-reading is done but it appears they have not done their job," he said.
Kodandaram also said that the SCERT should immediately issue a corrigendum and advise schools to correct the error.
AICC secretary incharge for Telangana, Mansoor Khan, called the omission shocking, and demanded that the error should be immediately fixed.
"Secularism and Socialism are pillars of India and we must ensure our children learn this," he said.
Abdullah Sohail Shaik, Chairman of Minorities Department of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee, feels that there is need for a thorough probe to find out if the error was intentional or not.
"There is something behind it. It may be an attempt to appease BJP and RSS," he said.
"This is not the first blunder by the Telangana government in education. Bungling in evaluation of answer sheets led to suicides of many intermediate students and recently there was leakage of question papers of various exams conducted by Telangana State Public Service Commission. Since no action is being taken against those responsible, such incidents are continuing," the Congress leader said.
Former MP and ex-VC of Mumbai University, Bhalachandra Mungekar, tweeted that Telangana SCERT must be sacked for its inexcusable lapse of omitting the words 'Secular' and 'Socialist' from the cover page of textbooks.
The Telangana State United Teachers Federation (TSUTF) was the first to complain about the omission. It demanded a thorough investigation and strict action against officials of the SCERT responsible for the error.
"In present times, there is a global discussion on the endangerment of secularism in India. In such circumstances, the Telangana government's printing of the old preamble raises many doubts. Whether intentional or accidental, it is a significant mistake," TSUTF secretary Ch Ravi said.
SCERT Director M. Radha Reddy clarified that the error was unintentional and an oversight.
The text book has a chapter titled 'The Making of Independent India's Constitution'. It explains the importance of the terms 'Secular' and 'Socialist'.
"During 1970s, significant changes were made to the Constitution. The first among them was inclusion of two words into the preamble of the Constitution -- Secular and Socialist," reads a paragraph in the chapter.