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Tipu Sultan

Education minister seeks report on removing Tipu Sultan from history texts

October 30, 2019

Karnataka Minister Suresh Kumar on Monday asked officials to look into the demand of a BJP MLA that the lesson on Tipu Sultan, the controversial 18th-century ruler of erstwhile Mysore Kingdom be removed from history textbooks, and submit a report in three days.

The primary and secondary education minister has written a note to the Managing Director of Karnataka Textbook Society, asking them to invite the MLA, Appachu Ranjan and discuss the matter. 

“As per the request of the MLA, call a meeting of history textbook drafting committee, regarding the lesson on Tipu Sultan in history textbook. Invite (BJP) MLA Appachu Ranjan for the meeting and discuss the need for the lesson.. to keep it or to remove it, and submit a report to me in three days,” Kumar said in the note.

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Ranjan had last week written to the minister demanding that the lesson on Tipu Sultan be removed. Speaking to reporters, Ranjan had alleged that Tipu had converted thousands of Christians and Kodavas, to Islam forcibly and that he had run his administration in Persian language, and was not a freedom fighter.

Quoting Ranjan, Kumar in the note says, “The MLA has said that state government in middle school history textbook has a lesson about Tipu Sultan. Without knowing completely about his history it has been inserted as a lesson, so contents of the lesson are not true. He has been just glorified and projected.”

“Tipu was anti-Kannada Persian administrator. By teaching history lessons about such a personality to children, it will be like distorting history of the state and the country,” the minister, quoting from Ranjan’s letter, said. The MLA has sought removal of the lesson from the textbook and insert lessons that instill the feeling of “patriotism” to the future generation.

Soon after coming to power, the BJP government in Karnataka in July scrapped the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, an annual event the party had been opposing since 2015 when it was launched during the Congress rule.

The BJP and right wing organisations have been strongly opposing Tipu, calling the erstwhile Mysore king a “religious bigot”. Tipu was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces.

Tipu Sultan, however, is a controversial figure in Kodagu district as Kodavas (Coorgis), a martial race, believe thousands of their men and women were seized and held captive during his occupation and subjected to torture, death and forcible conversion to Islam.

He was also accused of execution of Mandyam Iyengars at the temple town of Melkote in Mandya district on the day of Diwali as they supported the then Maharaja of Mysuru.

However, the scale of such suppression is disputed by several historians, who see Tipu as a secular and modern ruler who took on the might of the British. While BJP and some Hindu organisations see Tipu as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”, a few Kannada outfits call him “anti-Kannada”, citing that he had promoted Persian at the cost of the local language.

Source: PTI

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