Bengaluru, Oct. 23: Soon after being sworn into office in July-end, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s government banned the Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations in the state, putting an end to the five-year-old affair.
Now, BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan has written to primary and secondary education minister Suresh Kumar asking that all references to the 18th century ruler be wiped off history books.
The previous Congress government had, despite protests from the BJP, celebrated Tipu Sultan’s birthday on November 10 every year. Tipu, often referred to as the ’Tiger of Mysore’ for the valour he showed against the British, is a ruler that the BJP has been up against, calling him a king who indulged in mass conversions.
Ranjan, an MLA from Madikeri, said the government must take the initiative to strike out all references and chapters on Tipu from school books so that children in Karnataka are only taught about patriotism.
"We have all heard that history taught in schools is not complete, and not completely the truth. We must first stop the earlier practice of glorifying Tipu Sultan in our school textbooks, as we have been depicting his character without fully knowing about him. Tipu was out to expand his kingdom and to spread his religion; he never fought for independence. As such, it is not possible that we position him as a freedom fighter," Ranjan wrote in the letter.
Just as the British had colonised some parts of India, the French too had colonised other parts of India. Tipu had joined hands with the French, and offered them his support. As such, the French too used to send their armies to help him whenever he was in crisis.
"We know with this that he could not have been a freedom fighter. Instead, he used to force conversions on Hindus, and if they refused, he and his army would kill them. The main example of this is the massacre of Kodavas. There are many in Kodagu who name their dogs after Tipu, purely because they want to ensure his cruelty is not forgotten. How could he then be considered a freedom fighter?" Ranjan’s letter stated, adding that he had converted over 50,000 Christians in Mangalore as well.
"We need to tell our future generations the truth. As such, please take opinions of education experts about the current syllabus and texts, and bring in concepts of ’desh bhakti’ , ’desh prema’ (patriotism and love for the country) in the text books of primary and secondary schools. And, firstly, please take out all references on the created history around Tipu," Ranjan advised Kumar in the letter.
Ranjan also referred to the ruler as “anti-Kannada”, as the language used in administrative work during his reign was Persian.