DIBRUGARH, June 1 - The Assamese textbook Boisitraman Axom, published by the Assam State Textbook Production and Publication Corporation Limited and approved by the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) for classes IX and X, has not gone down well with the Adivasi communities of the State.
The textbook carries a chapter ‘Chah Jonogusti’ (pages 43 to 46) wherein author Sushil Kurmi, who also reportedly happens to be a member of the Asam Sahitya Sabha (ASS), has referred the Adivasi tribes like Oraons, Mundas, Kharias, Santals, Kol, Sawara, etc., as ‘Chah Jonogusti’.
The All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) has vehemently condemned SEBA and the writer for offending the greater Adivasi community by seeking to distort the identity of the Adivasi tribes. The members of the Adivasi students’ body, who staged a demonstration at Chowkidinghee intersection here today, burnt the effigy of Sushil Kurmi.
Gautam Munda, secretary, AASAA, Dibrugarh district, said the writer has provided wrong information in the chapter. “How can a member of a highly reputed literary organisation write something incorrect for students, especially on a sensitive subject such as the community, its history, identity and culture, etc.? He should apologise. SEBA must withdraw all the textbooks and ensure that the chapter is immediately edited,” said Munda.
Lawrence Nag, vice president of the AASAA central committee, in a statement, said the Adivasi organisations will move the Court if the textbooks are not withdrawn and required changes in the mentioned chapter are not made immediately.
He urged upon the writer to make a deeper study on the Adivasi tribes like Oraon, Munda, Kharia, Santal, Kol, Sawara, etc.
“Adivasi tribes have their own identity and they cannot in any way become ‘Chah Jonogusti’ just because they toil in tea gardens. Tea cultivation first started in China. Is there any ‘Chah Jonogusti’ in that country?” he asked.