Devanuru Mahadeva

Kannada author asks not to be published in textbooks after controversy

May 24, 2022
Reshma Ravishanker  

A day after Karnataka’s primary and secondary education minister BC Nagesh addressed a rebuttal presser against changes in school textbooks, two writers from Karnataka have issued statements in opposition.

Acclaimed Kannada writer and Dalit activist, Devanuru Mahadeva has asked to be left out of the textbooks and that he does not consent the inclusion of his works in the textbooks.

In an open letter, Mahadeva has criticized the new textbook committee appointed for looking into the revision of textbooks. “I have withdrawn permission to republish my work because, if they have eliminated writings of authors such as AN Murthy Rao, L Basavaraju, P Lankesh and Sara Abubakar, they fail to understand the essence of Kannada literature and the state’s culture,” he said.

Stating from a claim that the textbooks committee chairman, Rohit Chakratirtha has made that he is unaware of the castes of authors whose works have been included in the textbooks, Mahadeva said that if one was to ignore the caste probability that there will be no diversity at all. He claimed that it would result in inclusion of works from a particular community only. “This is not something novel. Ever since Dr Murali Manohar Joshi was the union education minister, this has been BJPs modus operandi. History and education distortion is their first mission,” he claimed, adding that he hopes to be enlisted among the” healthy minds” of the society who are pro-constitution.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the previous textbooks committee, appointed by Siddaramaiah-lead congress government in the past, Baraguru Ramachandrappa has also issued clarifications on the allegations levelled against him by BC Nagesh.

In a letter, Ramachandrappa said that unlike claims made by the minister, his committee did not omit chapters in textbooks on Kuvelmu, Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Kittu Rani Channamma among the others.

In a point-to-point explainer, he chose to issue a rebuttal to the debate that certain chapters have been eliminated. For instance, he said that the lesson ‘Bharata Bhoomi namma thayi’ had only been moved from class 10 textbook to class 7 to instill patriotism and nationalism among students.

“The committee that I was part of had 172 experts and professors on board. I was not all by myself to decide as I pleased. There were 27 sub-committees as well. Over 30 rounds of deliberations were held before the book made it to print and I also accepted the fact that there was always room for improvement.

Also read: No chapters omitted, Bhagat Singh, Tipu Sultan still in textbooks: BC Nagesh

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