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Karnataka Government on the Offensive, Refuses To Roll Back Revised Textbooks

The Bommai-led government accused the previous Congress government of using textbooks to appease minority groups.

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Karnataka Government on the Offensive, Refuses To Roll Back Revised Textbooks
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The Karnataka government led by Basavaraj Bommai has refused to roll back controversial textbooks amid criticism from public intellectuals and writers about the alleged saffronisation of education.

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, Revenue Minister R Ashok decided to take it up a notch against the Opposition by claiming that there were more mistakes and errors in the textbooks printed during Siddaramaiah’s tenure as the chief minister.

“We will not withdraw the revised textbooks. However, there are over seven to eight mistakes which will be corrected and sent across to school. We are also including a chapter called Samvidhana Shilpi on BR Ambedkar, making some additions to chapters on Puranadara Dasaru and Kanaka Dasaru (bhakti poets of Karnataka), and incorporating contributions of Siddaganga Matha to our society as a text as well,” added Minister R Ashok.

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Revenue Minister R Ashok Ups the Ante in Textbook Row

The revenue minister also alleged that the previous Congress government had designed the textbooks to “appease” minority groups and push the agenda of communists.

“I am questioning all the litterateurs and authors are who are raising this issue. During Siddaramaiah’s tenure they were parts about Kuvempu and Kepmegowda which were deleted. Now, we are adding those parts. Nobody questioned the government back then. We have also added more chapters on our kings and freedom fighters,” said R Ashok at the press conference.

The revenue minister also lashed out at the previous Congress government for allegedly giving more importance to Tipu Sultan, Mohammed Ghazni, and the Mughals, while undermining Hindu Gods and Hindu rulers in the state.

The minister advised the protesting authors to not look at the issue with a ‘tainted’ view. Trying to substantiate its accusations, the Bommai government has also released a 200-page book to highlight the changes brought about by the earlier Congress governments that either showed Hindu deities or Hindu historical figures in poor light in the textbooks.

BJP Endorses Recommendations by Chakrathirtha Committee

However, the revenue minister refused to accept or comment on the extensive changes made to the textbooks by the Rohith Chakrathirtha Committee. The committee has been accused of introducing a few select writers and dropping existing authors of progressive and rationalist thought.

The controversy began with the introduction of a speech by RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar titled “Aadarasha Purusha Yaaragabeku?”, which translates to “Who should be the ideal man?”, and with the omission of texts by P Lankesh, Sara Abubaker, AN Murthy Rao, and G Ramakrishna. The committee is also accused of being anti-Dalit, as several pieces of reformist literature on gender and social equality have been allegedly dropped.

A week ago, on 18 June, several organisations like Vishwa Manava Krantikari Mahakavi Kuvempu Horata Samiti, Kannada Rakshana Vedike, Universal Humanity, Kuvempu Agitation Forum, along with political organisations such as the Congress, JD(S), and SDPI workers protested against former Karnataka Textbook Revision Committee head Rohit Chakrathirtha. Terming the issue as saffronisation, the groups also expressed their anger over Chakrathitha’s Facebook post which reportedly insulted state poet Kuvempu.

The protesters also burnt RSS shorts and effigies of Rohith Chakrathirtha, while KPCC president DK Shivakumar tried to make a stronger statement by tearing the revised textbook copy on a stage that he shared with JD(S) supremo HD Devegowda, pontiffs of several mathas, and writers in Bengaluru.

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Edited By :Karan HM
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