In a disturbing development, the question paper for Bangla first part HSC exam contained a question that is hurtful to the religious sentiments of the Hindus.
The exam, which was under Dhaka Education Board, took place yesterday (November 6, 2022).
Professor Tapan Kumar Sarkar, chairman of the board, today (November 7, 2022) said they were investigating how a question that involved “communal issues” was included and who did it.
In the creative part of the question paper, the 11th question had a story of two Hindu brothers – Nepal and Gopal – who have been in a long-standing dispute over land.
The two brothers were not ready to compromise and took the issue to court. To teach his elder brother a lesson, Nepal sold a portion of the land to a Muslim man named Abdul, who began living there.
The story further read, “When Eid-ul-Azha came, Abdul slaughtered a cow in front of Nepal’s home. Saddened by this, Nepal left for India with his family without informing anyone.”
The questions that followed the story were: 1) From which country did Mir Zafar come to India from? 2) “If someone at home is untrustworthy, anything is possible for outsiders” – explain. 3) Compare Nepal to Mir Zafar’s character from the drama “Sirajuddoula”. 4) “Bringing calamity by one’s own imprudence” – how does this saying apply to both the story of Nepal and that of Mir Zafar?
Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Bouddha Christian Oikya Parishad, said, “The question contains communal provocations. People who are spreading communalism in the education sector should be identified and punished.”
Such questions would appear in exams under the Pakistan regime to embarrass minorities and foment communalism, he said.
“Incidents like this show that Bangladesh is gradually transforming itself into an Islamic country. These have been increasing the inferiority complex among the minorities.”
Education Minister Dipu Moni today reiterated that Bangladesh is a secular country.
“It is unfortunate and unacceptable for a question paper of an exam to contain matters that can stoke communalism,” she said after attending a programme in the capital.
She added that action will be taken against whoever set the question paper and whoever moderated it.
“Once those responsible are identified, we would know if those who sow the seeds of communalism in the minds of students are involved in the question setting and moderation process.”
The setting and moderation of question papers are done in such a manner that once it is completed, no one has the scope to check, she added.
Meanwhile, an HSC exam was postponed in many places across the country due to a mishap, as students who followed the old syllabus got questions from the new one, and vice-versa.
Dipu Moni said, “We don’t think the education board has done that [on purpose]. It seems some mistakes took place during the printing or packaging of the question papers.”
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