Minister for primary and secondary allegations BC Nagesh on Monday refuted allegations of attempts to saffronise school textbooks while omitting chapters on Bhagat Singh among the other freedom fighters.
Addressing a press meet, he claimed that lessons on Bhagat Singh and Tipu Sultan being eliminated are false and that they have been represented in a different manner. The chapter on Bhagat Singh in social science textbook authored by G Ramakrishna has been replaced by a one authored by Chakravarthi Sulibele, an active right-wing supporter.
In the other allegations that were made, he said that the chapter on Narayana Guru, a social reformer who opposed caste system in Kerala was not omitted either. “Are we to listen to what political leaders demand or what the teachers say? Teachers approached us that there were 39 chapters in Social science textbooks and it was too much for students to study. We have just moved it from social science to Kannada textbook,” he said.
He also questioned the previous government’s motive behind changing the textbooks before the ideal five-year period and prescribing distorted aspects of history only for study. “The Mysore Wodeyars were rules who are best remembered for excellence in administration and management. Why did the Siddaramaiah-led congress government then bring down content on the Wodeyars. It was brought down from five pages to four lines whereas a lesson on Tipu which was just one page was increased to four. Is it because Wodeyars do not affect vote bank politics, but Tipu does?” he sought to know adding that textbooks have only been rationalized.
Nagesh also fumed over queries on introducing chapters from writers of the Brahmin community only. “If this is true, there were 16 pieces from Brahmin writers in the textbooks designed by Baragur Ramachandrappa. Why did no one question the previous government for it. Suddenly, when BJP comes to power, everyone wants to ascertain caste and religion to everything. Today, we are questioning even Kuvempu’s caste. It is indeed shameful. Should we teach students what is educative, or should we look at the caste of authors we prescribe to them?”
He said that aspects of Periyar’s chapters such as garlanding idols with sandals have been omitted. “I want to ask the self-proclaimed intellectuals this. Do children need to know such aspects of ill treating a god? There was one line that said Rama represents Vaishyas and Ravana the Dravidas. Should we hail a demon as a hero and teach students the same?”
Reading excerpts from the textbook, which Nagesh said, was adopted from Wikipedia, he questioned why only the lines- “Dubois is remembered in India for having adopted the way of life, clothing, vegetarianism and language typical of a Hindu monk or renunciate and earning trust and respect. He failed, however, in his mission of converting Indians to Christianity; and often expressed the opinion that the project was doomed to failure” were eliminated in a chapter on Jean-Antoine Dubois, a French Christian missionary.
Other claims made by Nagesh
- In the history of Bengaluru, pictures of a Masjid and Church were included by the previous textbook committee. Why was the picture of a temple deleted?
- Swami Vivekananda never complained about India in the Chicago speech. What is the origin of the speech excerpts?
- Why was ‘Hindu Mahasagara’ as it was always called in Kannada changed to ‘Indian Ocean’ by the previous government in Kannada textbooks?
- Why is Rohith Chakrathirtha, an IIT professor and author deemed underqualified to head a textbook committee?
- Why were all story form lessons removed from class 1 textbooks while that is a recommended way of teaching?
- Why is there so little text on Kittur Rani Chennamma, Rani Abbakka ? Were these removed because they were Hindus