A textbook case: what’s in it, what’s not in Karnataka’s textbooks

Revision of Kannada and Social Science Textbooks for Grades 1-10 in Karnataka Government Schools by a Textbook Review Committee set up by the BJP State Government and headed by a Mathematics teacher established a political storm due to the alleged saffronization of school textbooks.

Since the manuals were made available in the public domain on May 23, writers, politicians, religious seers and scholars have, while accusing the government of promoting a right-wing, conservative and pro-Hindutva ideology, have requested the return to the previous version of the books.

The ruling BJP, its education minister, right-wing ideologues and textbook committee head Rohith Chakrathirtha argued that the new textbooks had been sanitized of a previous bias towards “communist ideology and anti-Brahman.

The textbook controversy centers on omissions and commands in chapters relating to religious icons such as Basavanna, the holy founder of the Lingayat community which forms nearly 17% of the state’s population, and personalities such as the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution of India. Even Dalit BJP MPs raised objections as seers from several Lingayat pooches gave the government 10 days to revise the controversial chapter on Basavanna in a ninth standard social science textbook.

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The textbook row in Karnataka is expected to have political ramifications as protests continue to mount against the changes. The Karnataka government has not indicated whether it will revert to the old manual or scare it away by changing the most politically sensitive topic. For now, the government has agreed to revise the controversial chapters.

The current textbook review committee has been disbanded since the controversy. The government has also withdrawn a textbook revision exercise for pre-university classes under Chakrathirtha.

Here is a list of some of the controversial textbook changes made by the committee:

Chapter on Basavanna: While the previous class 9 social science textbook portrayed Basavanna, the founding saint of Lingayatism, as rebelling against Hindu practices and founding the Lingayat way of life, the revised textbooks only portray Basavanna as reforming the Veerashaiva faith. There is also no reference to his rebellion.

“The revised manual shows a distorted history of the spread of Lingayatism by Basavanna and hides the real facts. The manual says that “scholars introduced reforms in the Veerashaiva caste.” It should have been “scholars introduced Lingayat dharma into society”. There are several changes like these which have reflected very badly on the Lingayat community,” said Lingayat seer Shri Panditaradya Shivacharya Swami of Sannehalli Math in a recent letter to Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai.

Ambedkar as architect of the Constitution removed: References to Ambedkar as head of the Constituent Assembly that crafted India’s Constitution and his rebellion against the caste system have been dropped, according to Dalit leaders.

“A conspiracy has been waged to destroy Dr Ambedkar’s credentials as the architect of the Constitution of India. A poem attributed to Dr. Ambedkar has been deleted. The names of Dr. Ambedkar’s parents and place of origin have been removed. Why was the sentence stating that Dr Ambedkar was the architect of the Constitution removed? Major social movements that Babasaheb was involved in – such as the Mahar Satyagraha and the entrance to the Kalaram temple – have been omitted. The position taken by Babasaheb Ambedkar regarding Hindutva and the caste system has been suppressed. Why ? said Congressman Priyank Kharge.

P Lankesh out, Hegdewar in: The writings of prominent Kannada writers such as P Lankesh, Sara Abubacker and AN Murthy Rao were removed from Kannada Class 10 textbooks and replaced with essays written by RSS founder KB Hegdewar, right-wing ideologue Chakravarthy Sulibele and Sanskrit scholars Bannanje Govindacharya and Shathavadhani. Ganesh. Essays written by Sulibele and Ganesh are about freedom fighters Rajguru and Sukhdev.

“We believe that Hegdewar is not an icon we admire in this country. The RSS has opposed the freedom movement on many occasions and this is evident in the writings of many RSS leaders who opposed what the Indians are wasting their time fighting the British,” said All India Democratic Students Organization (AIDSO) Secretary General Ajay Kamath.

Renowned writers such as Devanur Mahadev, G Ramakrishna, SG Siddaramaiah, Roopa Hassan, Chandrashekhar Talya, Mundanakudu Chinnaswamy and Sarju Katkar withdrew permission to use their essays in textbooks in protest against the abandonment of essays by Lankesh, Abubacker , Rao , and others.

“This protest is not directed against any particular person, but against the distorted lessons and ideologies being propagated. In the name of nationalism, the state instills communal and corrupt thoughts in the minds of students,” said writer SG Siddaramaiah.

“I don’t want my work included in a community school textbook. Class 10 Kannada textbook also contains disrespectful lessons towards women. I don’t want to be part of such an ecosystem,” Siddaramaiah said.

Chapters on Bhakti, Sufi saints deleted: “They cut parts of Purandaradasa, Kanakadasa and Shishunala Sharif, which is very strange because they are all local figures and people must know them,” said Professor Chandan Gowda, president of Ramakrishna Hegde at the Institute of social and economic sciences. To change. Akka Mahadevi, a 12th century poet, was also removed from the Class 7 books.

Swami Vivekananda’s teachings on humanity: “The revised textbook uploaded to the public domain has many changes in the Swami Vivekananda chapter, where lessons on humanity are excluded and replaced with religious sentiments,” said Ajay Kamath of AIDSO.

A new flag: An image of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari holding the Kannada state flag in the Class 6 Kannada textbook has been replaced with an image of the Goddess holding a saffron flag. The Karnataka government reportedly agreed to return to the previous image after the protests.

Ancient India as Bharathavarsha: In the class 8 social science textbook, a chapter titled “Geographical Features and Prehistoric India” is now titled “Bharathavarsha”.

The lesson says that India, along with Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, was previously called “Bharathavarsha, Bharatha Khanda, Sindhudweepa, Akhandabharatha and Greater India too” .

There are other problems too, according to Professor Chandan Gowda of ISEC. “There are several textbooks for grades 1-10 in Kannada and social studies and we have to check them all to see what has been included and deleted,” he said.

While denying the alleged saffronization, the Karnataka government and Chakrathirtha, who headed the controversial textbook revision committee, claimed that these were only corrections to alleged distortions that had been made under a previous committee headed by the writer Baragur Ramachandrappa under a Congress government.

Distortions alleged by the BJP government in the old textbooks:

* Glorification of Muslim leader Tipu Sultan has been corrected, said BC Education Minister Nagesh. “The previous committee reduced the lessons on Mysore Maharajas and their contribution to social reforms from five pages to a few lines while giving more space to Tipu Sultan,” the minister said.

*According to Chakrathirtha, the introduction of a class 8 social science lesson indicated that the food shortage was caused during the Vedic period due to the sacrifices of agricultural animals, the offering of milk and ghee during the ” havans” by the brahmins. It has been removed.

* A chapter that said Jainism and Buddhism began to develop in India due to a disconnect with Sanskrit was removed after the committee found it was ‘just an opinion’ . “The changes reflect a new way of thinking. These philosophers and their works will introduce students to new languages, especially Sanskrit,” Chakrathirtha said before the controversy erupted.

* “The ancient textbooks said that Periyar believed that Rama represents Vedic culture and Ravana represents Dravidian culture. Moreover, Periyar was a staunch critic of Rama who even decorated the picture of Lord Rama with slippers,” the minister said Nagesh: “This is not what we intend to teach our children and these have been suppressed.”

“Most of the critics are leftists and I can prove that they brought communist ideology into the textbooks,” Nagesh said of previous textbooks.

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