Pune: The Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT) on Saturday ordered that a book titled "Shree Samarth Ramdas Swami", which allegedly portrays Maratha king Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj in a poor light, will not be distributed among students.

The book, written by Dr Subha Sathe, has been prescribed under the supplementary reading scheme of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme aimed at universalisation of elementary education.

A circular issued by Vikas Garad, deputy director (coordination) MSCERT, stated that "objection has been raised that there is a derogatory remark about Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj in the book and a committee of history experts has been set up to probe into the objections."

The circular further stated that the book should not be made available for reading to students "until further directions" and all the copies of the book will be kept in the custody of the respective schools' principals.

Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde, reacting to the circular, said that just stopping the book's distribution would not be enough. "Action should be taken against the writer and publisher. Education Minister Vinod Tawde should apologise to the people and resign on moral grounds," he said.

Here are some more instances when Indian school textbooks stirred up a controversy:

1. In 1995, a Class IX social studies textbook showed Muslims, Christians, and Parsis as “foreigners”. It added, “In most of the states, the Hindus are a minority and the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are in a majority".
2. A Class X social science book of the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education said that Maharana Pratap defeated Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th-century Battle of Haldighati. 
3. A history textbook in 2000 described Adolf Hitler as, "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time by establishing a strong administrative setup. He created the vast state of Greater Germany."
4. A Class IX Hindi textbook referred to Jesus Christ as a demon and said that stories of this ‘demon’ will be forever remembered.
5. A Class VIII Social Science English-medium textbook said that after Partition in 1947, a new nation was born called, ‘Islamic Islamabad’ and its capital, ‘Khyber Ghat’, was in the Hindukush Mountains.

With agency inputs