The Kannada and social science textbook revisions for classes six through ten were accepted by the Karnataka Cabinet on Thursday. The chapters on RSS founder KB Hedgewar and Hindutva leader VD Savarkar were eliminated as part of the rewrite. The Cabinet has also given its approval for the addition of chapters on Savitribai Phule, a social reformer and educator, Nehru’s letters to Indira Gandhi, and Ambedkar poetry.
Madhu Bangarappa, minister of education, claimed his administration had gotten rid of unnecessary requirements. He claimed that the textbook for this year was revised by a five-member expert committee that included Rajappa Dalawai, Raveesh Kumar, Prof. T. R. Chandrashekar, Dr. Ashwath Narayan, and Rajesh.
“Though there were suggestions for larger changes, keeping in mind technical and printing difficulties, and as the academic year has started, only a few changes have been made this time in Kannada and social sciences textbooks of classes 6 to 10. This may cost about Rs 10-12 lakh. There are 75,000 schools in the state; we will ensure it reaches them.”
When asked what has been added and removed during the revision, Bangarappa said, “We have only restored what was there before the previous BJP government made changes; we have removed the changes they had made.” A previously deleted chapter on Savitri Phule has been reinstated, along with the poetry “Nee Hoda Marudina” about Ambedkar and the chapter “Magalige Bareda Patra” about Nehru’s letters to Indira Gandhi.
“We have removed a chapter on Hedgewar, Savarkar and a chapter written by Hindu activist and thinker Chakravarthy Sulibele, also some harsh words have been changed,” the minister said. But when asked if a chapter about the Mysore king Tipu Sultan from the eighteenth century had been reinstated, he declined to comment.
When the BJP was in opposition, the Congress charged that it was “saffronising” school textbooks by deleting chapters on important individuals like freedom fighters, social reformers, and authors of renown literary works while including the speech of RSS founder Hedgewar. The former chairman of the textbook review committee, Rohith Chakratirtha, had also been called for to be fired by the grand old party.
Dinesh Gundu Rao stated last week that the Karnataka government intended to take out some lessons from textbooks adopted by the previous BJP administration, including a lesson on RSS founder KB Hedgewar. According to him, the books ought to include tales of individuals who have made genuine contributions to the development of the country.
“If you talk about the freedom struggle, those who participated in the freedom struggle – history should reflect that, not your personal choices, not who you idolise. BJP has tried to infuse its ideological issues into textbooks, which is not correct. So, Congress party will have to look at it very seriously and take corrective measures,” he said.
The National Education Policy (NEP), which the BJP had altered in school textbooks, was also one of the promises made by the Congress.