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Textbooks controversy: CM Bommai offers explanation, to revise objectionable content

Textbook controversy: CM offers explanation, to revise objectionable content

June 4, 2022
-Reshma Ravishanker

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has responded to the allegations pertaining to distortion of textbooks and offering an explanation to the controversies surrounding it. 

Bommai, in a media statement said that the textbook committee has been dissolved as the assigned task is completed. He assured that he took an unbiased stand to look into the textbook issue and appointment of Rohith Chakratirtha. 
 
After having sought a report from the primary and secondary education minister pertaining to the controversies, elimination of content and objectionable representations of certain personalities, Bommai said that the government had an open mind and that if need be, objectionable content could be revised. 
 
He said that although the distorted version of Kuvempu’s works has not been published in textbooks, action will be taken against those who played mischief with the text. 
 
While responding to the allegations that Kuvempu was sidelined by the new textbook revision committee, Bommai said that while the previous committee headed by Baragur Ramachandrappa had included only seven works by Kuvempu in textbooks, the new committee has included 10 works of the same author. Among the additions, he said the new committee has included a chapter on Karnataka’s ruler Kempegowda and one on Hinduism, in addition to Christianity and Islam which previously existed. 
 
Bommai, who also responded to Adichunchunagiri Mutt seer Sri Sri Sri Nirmalananda Swami said that the cyber crime police has been entrusted the responsibility of investigating and finding who wrote the distorted version of Kuvempu’s Nadageethe and take action against them. 
 
Addressing concerns raised by Sri Sri Sri Panditaradhya Swami and other seers that philosopher Basavanna was misrepresented, Bommai said the government has taken a stand to revise the content in textbooks and that it did not offend any section of people. Seers had requested that the word ‘veerashaiva’ be dropped. 
 
Some other explanations given by Bommai: 
 
– Regarding Kuvempu
The content in EVS textbooks for class 1-5 was not revised by the Chakratirtha committee. Whatever a committee in 2014-15 headed by Mudambadithaya wrote has been carried forward as is. 
 
– Dropping Kuvempu’s works 
In 2014-15, there were eight prose and poems authored by Kuvempu in textbooks. Ramachandrappa committee reduced it to seven. We have increased it to 10 in all now. 
 
Regarding Bhagat Singh 
Lesson authored by G Ramakrishna has been retained in Kannada textbooks as is. 
 
– On Social reformers 
Chapters on Narayana Guru and Periyar have not been deleted. They have been published in first language Kannada textbooks. 
 
– Tippu Sultan
Chapters on the ruler have been retained in classes 6, 7 and 10 as before. 
 
– Basavanna 
While it has been referred in both old and new textbooks about Basavanna being a ‘Veerashaiva’, it is specificied that he underwent ‘Linga Deekshe’. 
 
– Sukumara Swamiya Kathe authored by Shivakotyacharya has been replaced by a speech by Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. This is to teach students the essence. Similarly since a chapter by Chakravarthy Sulibe talks about the contribution of social reformers including Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev etc, it has been added. 
 
– Regarding Chakratirtha’s social media posts 
The distorted version of Kuvempu’s works is not his doing. He only shared that version. This was an incident in 2017 and a B report has been submitted to the court. 
 
– Although textbooks of good quality content were commissioned in 2014-15 by Mudambadithaya, in the name of saffronisation of textbooks, the previous government’s appointment of the Ramachandrappa committee just two years after the previous one was out because of an ulterior motive. Regarding the distribution of textbooks, 79 per cent printing work has been completed as on June 3 and 66.9 per cent has been distributed. 
 
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