Publish Full Truth or Nothing: BJP MLA on Tipu Sultan in Textbooks

Expert committee member Ashwath Narayan said there was nothing ‘controversial’ in the content of the Class 10 book.

3 min read
Even Karnataka CM Yediyurappa had called for the mention of Tipu to be removed from textbooks, arguing that it was wrong to call him a freedom fighter.

Reacting to an expert committee’s recommendation that chapters on Tipu Sultan must remain a part of syllabus, Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan told The Quint that he would speak to the education minister as well as write to the chief minister once again to take up his proposal.

After month-long deliberations, the expert panel, constituted to determine whether lessons on Tipu Sultan should be dropped or modified in school textbooks, has reportedly said that there should be no change to the curriculum.

According to a report, the three-member committee headed by Professor Ashwath Narayan of Mysuru University, has submitted two reports to the Karnataka Textbook Society – one on the material for classes six and seven, and another for the content of the Class 10 textbook. The same will be forwarded to the state government for approval in the coming days.

A letter by BJP MLA from Madikeri Appachu Ranjan, demanding that the very mention of Tipu, the ‘tyrant’, be removed from school textbooks led to Education Minister Suresh Kumar calling for the formation of an expert committee for a final say in the matter.

Speaking to The Quint, Prof Narayan refused to comment on what the report stated, claiming that the reports and findings were “made in good faith and meant to be confidential”.

“We were given certain documents that were submitted by a BJP MLA, that was given to us, so we analysed that and some other supporting documents. While I do not want to comment on what the committee’s decision was, I would say that there is nothing controversial in the text of the 10th standard textbook. It was written objectively.”
Prof Ashwath Narayan

Two other historians and scholars were part of the expert committee, belonging to Hampi University and Bengaluru University.

“We had asked for one month time to go through all the documents. We are done with our part. Now the report will go to the government who will take the final decision,” said Prof Narayan.

‘Will Write to CM Again’: BJP MLA Ranjan

It was a letter written by Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan, that kickstarted the controversy this time around. Over time, since the Congress government was in power in 2015, the 18th century ruler of Mysore has become a sticky point of conflict between the two parties.

The Congress government had started observing Tipu Jayanthi on 10 November during their tenure but scattered incidents of violence and protests by BJP who accused him of being responsible for mass conversions of Brahmins and Christians marred the ‘celebrations’. Under Yediyurappa, Tipu Jayanthi became a private affair this year but the controversy over his ‘reputation’ continued.

Speaking to The Quint, Ranjan said that if there was mention of his heroics, then the textbooks should also talk about the looting of temples, the mass conversions and the mass murders. “He had killed about 30,000 people in Kodagu. He had tried to invade the region 31 times, but only succeeded in his 32nd attempt. Either show the whole truth or none of it,” he said.

“If they want it to continue, then they should show the reality – what all he has done. Children should not learn the wrong things. He has done a lot of wrong in Kodagu,” Ranjan said. He had submitted translations of letters apparently written by Tipu in Persian, where he confesses to the mass conversions and his conquests, for consideration by the committee.

(With inputs from The Hindu)

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