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R Ashoka

Karnataka: BJP calls out previous TRC for minority appeasement

June 24, 2022

Striking back at the opposition over the textbook saffronisation row, the Karnataka’s ruling BJP has called out the previous government for attempting minority appeasement through their textbook revision.

Revenue minister R Ashoka addressed a press conference to counter the claim made by opposition parties regarding the textbook revision.

To substantiate the claim, the state government has also released a compilation of changes made by former chief minister Siddaramaiah appointed Baraguru Ramachandrappa’s textbook revision committee (TRC).

Ashoka said that attempts were made to show Hindu deities in poor light, cut short the content written on Vijayanagara rulers, Mysuru Wodeyars, poet Kuvempu and Bengaluru’s founder Kempegowda besides Sir M Visvesvaraya.

The opposition parties have, over the last two months, fueled debates on elimination of content related to minorities in textbooks.

Protesters had, among the several claims, said that the content authored by Kuvempu has been removed. Proving that this was deleted by the previous committee, Ashoka said that the Baraguru committee reduced the number of Kuvempu’s writings from 8 to 7.

He said, “When Siddaramaiah-led congress government was in power, writings of many literatures were removed. No questions were raised. The previous government only highlighted Tipu Sultan, Mohammed Ghazni, Hyder Ali and Mughals with an ulterior motive,” Ashoka alleged.

He also called upon the opposition parties to remove colored spectacles they had sported to take an unbiased look at the revised content.

To instill nationalism in students, he said the BJP government added chapters on Swami Vivekananda, RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Ahom dynasty of Assam, Karkota dynasty of Kashmir, Prithviraj Chauhan and Shivaji Maharaj.

Meanwhile, Ramachandrappa in an open letter has responded to allegations leveled by R Ashoka.

“Irrespective of who does the textbook revisions, some chapters will inevitably be dropped. We have enlisted reasons for each omission we have made. Changes are made in accordance with the state and national curriculum framework,” he said.

He added that the allegations of deletion of chapters on Mysore Wodeyars is not true and that it has been included for study in class 7 textbooks. The current committee has made several omissions in the Wodeyars chapter including the reservations he introduced and voting rights given to women.

Repeating the claims made previously, he highlighted that the current committee has deleted chapters in class 7 on Savitribai Phule, removed lessons by Dalit and women writers in Kannada textbooks, left out former prime minister from Karnataka Deve Gowda’s photo, deleted bits from the teachings of Ambedkar among others.

Ramachandrappa said that he did not revise textbooks as a communist but as an education expert. “It is time to put an end to baseless allegations. Chief minister should call for a meeting with critics and authors and have a democratic approach,” he said. 

(Inputs from PTI)

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