Pegasus in its book on world leaders listed Adolf Hitler to be one of those who dedicated their lives to the betterment of their countries and people. The book has generated ridicule and allowed us to decide our accountability in the context of publication for children.
Mark Johnson is an Environmentalist and Independent Journalist – based in Pune.
Young learners must be brought up in an ambience where good books, great cinema and other mediums of exposure are available for them to know the world outside. They are at a very impressionable age, at a time when their thinking, perceptions and world view is still maturing.
At this time it is crucial that the kind of materials that they read, the quality of music and cinema that is given to them, the ambience that they are nurtured in all contribute towards the construction of critical thinking, creativity and intelligence. It is in this milieu that the irresponsible action displayed by a leading publisher Pegasus in India has attracted the attention of all those who concern themselves with the realm of children’s upbringing and the kind of influence book can have on it.
The publisher brought in the market a book titled ‘ Great Leaders ‘and in that book among other leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler has also been included. The book says that Hitler was one of the leaders who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of their countries and the people living in them.
The fact that the book called Hitler to be one of the most important leaders of our times and somebody who worked for the development of his country, is tragic. The holocaust, the inhuman treatment of Jews and the value perceptions that Hitler stood for are against all sensitivity.
What is crucial is to understand that young learners rely on books to know about the world and in that context we are offering them texts of such kind. It has been condemned. Individuals who compose any material for children whether we talk about texts, cinema or music must be responsible and open a world for children where learning about sensitivity, ethics and care are possible. The book publisher must abide by responsible behavior.
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