The class 6 question paper that has been recently doing the rounds of social media was denied to be drafted by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Tamil Nadu. The question paper sparked controversy as it displayed extremely offensive questions, stereotyping Dalits and Muslims, and even caught the eye of various political leaders.
The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan issued an official statement on Sunday, 8th September, wherein they claimed that the question paper that went viral on social media was not from any of its schools in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. According to The Hindu, the Deputy Commissioner of the regional office of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan was quoted saying that, “None of the 49 Kendriya Vidyalaya of Chennai region has prepared such questions or a question paper. Moreover, the pattern of the question paper in KVs is different from what is being circulated on social media.” Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan has also requested social media users to refrain from spreading such messages that are misleading and affecting the school.
The question paper went viral so rapidly as it directly attacked some minorities of the country like the Dalits and the Muslims. It featured questions like ‘What is the meaning of the word Dalits?’ and had options for answers such as ‘untouchables, middle class’ etc. Again, for Muslims, statements such as ‘they don’t send their girls to school’ and ‘they are pure vegetarians’ were given as options for common stereotypes about them.
Such questions are claimed to have been coming from a chapter called ‘Diversity and Discrimination’ in the social science textbooks of students in standard six.
Not only did it create a rage in social media for such heavily offensive questions but also attracted the response of political leaders such as Stalin. DMK chief M.K. Stalin, claimed in a tweet that he was “shocked and appalled” to see such questions appearing on the question papers of a school. He strongly opined that the drafters of such papers should be prosecuted under the relevant laws for “promoting religious intolerance and caste differences.”
Vaiko, MDMK Chief, too criticised this question paper as it would ultimately stir hatred within the minorities of our country. It is important to turn away from such religious reflections on education and make it as secular as possible.
There have been claims that the question paper originated either from Tamil Nadu or Puducherry, but the source hasn’t been found. In a country, sensitive to communal tensions through out its history, such casteism and communalism in education can deeply effect the youth and thus the future of our country.