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Karnataka govt refuses to withdraw controversial textbooks amid protests

Karnataka govt refuses to withdraw controversial textbooks amid protests

Mangalore Today News Network

Bengaluru, June 24, 2022: Amid criticism over the saffronisation of school textbooks, the BJP government in Karnataka has refused to recall the controversial revised textbooks. Addressing the media on June 23, Thursday, Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashok said that the revised textbooks have seven to eight mistakes, which will be corrected over the next ten days. The addition of the title ‘Samvidhana Shilpi’ (architect of the Constitution) to Dr BR Ambedkar, additional details on poets Purandara Dasaru and Kanaka Dasaru, and the inclusion of Siddaganga Mutt’s contributions to a chapter on the development of Karnataka are some of the corrections to be made, the Revenu Minister reportedly said.


Launching a tirade against the opposition, which has alleged saffronisation of school textbooks, the Revenue Minister charged that the previous Siddaramaiah-led government had made various changes in the books only to “appease” the minority communities and push communist ideology. The government also released a 200-page book to show the revisions made by the Congress government.

"The textbooks brought out during the Congress governments undermined Hindu Gods and Hindu rulers in the state. The chapters on Vijayanagara rulers, Mysuru rulers Wadiyars, national poet Kuvempu, Bengaluru founder Kempegowda and Sir M Visvesvaraya were either deleted or the content on them were reduced in the textbooks," Revenue Minister R Ashok told reporters. According to the minister, there were 8 writings of Kuvempu when the BJP government was in power before 2013 but it was reduced to seven by the textbook revision committee headed by Baraguru Ramachandrappa.

What the minister did not mention, however, is the extensive changes made to the textbooks by the revision committee set up by the BJP and headed by Rohith Chakrathirtha, a controversial rightwing orator. A list compiled by researcher and writer Harshakumar Kugve, which TNM had earlier published, showed that many lessons by Dalit writers, and several progressive, reformist writers speaking in favour of gender equality and social justice, and writing against communalism and caste hierarchy, were dropped. Chapters on social reforms like eradication of untouchability, gender discrimination and child trafficking have also been completely removed, along with significant lessons on Gandhi, Dr BR Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru. On the other hand, lessons on RSS ideologues Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and KB Hedgewar have been added. According to Kugve, in total, the writings of around 27 Dalit writers were dropped, and 95% of the lessons replacing them were written by Brahmins.

Minister Ashoka also said he held the press conference to question those who are raising the issue of saffronising textbooks. “When the Siddaramaiah government was in power, the writings of many litterateurs were removed but no one questioned them. The previous government highlighted Tipu Sultan, Mohammed Ghazni, Hyder Ali and Mughals,” Ashoka alleged. He claimed that chapters on Tipu, Hyder Ali, Ghazni and Mughals have been deleted now and freedom fighters and historical figures such as Maratha ruler Shivaji and Kempegowda are getting prominence in the textbooks.

Ashoka slammed the previous textbook revision committee for working with a ’hidden agenda’ and ’removing’ chapters on Rama and Hindu deities. “Chapters on ’Ramayana Darshanam’ and ’Ajjayyana Abhyanjana’ by Kuvempu were deleted. Instead, communist ideology got prominence,” he alleged. To instil nationalism in students, he said the BJP government added chapters on Swami Vivekananda, RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Ahom dynasty of Assam, Karkota dynasty of Kashmir, Prithviraj Chauhan and Shivaji Maharaj.

Courtesy: The News Minute

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