In a blunder, a class IX Hindi language textbook published by the Gujarat board has used the word "haivaan" (devil) before Jesus Christ instead of intended word 'bhagwan' (God) in a passage in one of its chapters, triggering protests from the Christian community.
Left embarrassed, officials of the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB), the publisher of the textbook, have rectified the blunder in the online version of the book available on their website and removed the controversial word.
Assuring an internal inquiry, GSSTB Executive President Nitin Pethani said it was a "printing mistake".
The controversial reference appears on page 16, which is in the chapter titled "Teacher-student relationship in Indian culture".
Taking offence, several members of the Christian community gathered outside the office of the District Education Officer (DEO) here and demanded withdrawal of the book.
"The textbook has depicted our God in a bad light. We condemn the word used for Jesus Christ. It has hurt our religious sentiments. We want the government to withdraw the book immediately," an agitator said.
Though GSSTB has removed the word from the online version of the textbook, they said it will not be possible to withdraw the textbooks as they were already distributed to students across the state.
"This was nothing but a printing mistake. Instead of word 'Bhagwan', the word 'haivaan' got printed. We have already made the correction in the online version. Since books have already been distributed among students, it is not possible to withdraw them now," Pethani said.
When asked how they will ensure that right knowledge was imparted to students, he said, "To make sure that the corrected version is taught to students, we will issue a written advisory to all the teachers, asking them to take into account this correction while teaching this subject".