Karnataka’s Minister of Primary and Secondary Education BC Nagesh told News18.com, “If Congress is intent on introducing ‘Italian Education Policy’, we will surely replace it with ‘Nagpur Education Policy.’ He was responding to the opposition Congress party’s allegations that the BJP was trying” Saffron” education in the southern state.
Speaking exclusively to News18.com, Nagesh explained the reasoning behind the changes to the Karnataka state syllabus. He described it as an attempt to raise students’ awareness of the contributions of those such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founder Dr Keshav Paliram Hedgewar, freedom fighters such as Unak Obava and Ketur Rani Chinama among many others, and to “not glorify the foreigners who plundered” and tried to change the culture of India”.
Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar said that changes made to textbooks by including the Hedgewar Discourses, introducing the Bhagavad Gita, and removing chapters related to Tipu Sultan, Periyar or Sree Narayana Guru were part of the BJP’s effort to teach saffron.
“We try to imbibe in our students different aspects of Indian cultural history, nationalism, the need to read and gain knowledge about our great country, which is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The student should feel inspired to read more about our country through its texts,” said Nagy.
The minister said that for several decades there had been a feudal education system and it was time to change that. He also denied DK Shivakumar’s allegations about deleting chapters related to Sree Narayana Guru and Bhagat Singh from textbooks.
“We have not deleted any of the chapters related to Narayana Guru, Periyar or Bhagat Singh. They are only doing this to create an issue.
The minister argued that it was necessary to read and understand Dr. Hegdiwar’s sermons as a freedom fighter and a nationalist. Nagesh said that both the Congress and the Communists, who ruled the country for decades, had buried nationalist ideologies and it was imperative that children be exposed to them now.
He said that the RSS leader’s speeches would instill nationalism and pride in one’s homeland, which children would only be exposed to through their textbooks.
When asked why the changes are being made now, Nagesh said that every five years, the education department reviews the topics and importance of classes taught in schools.
“We had books that first said that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Then there were Christian books that said the world was flat. Galileo was punished for declaring it round. We believe that textbooks should give way to new ideas, challenge children’s thought processes and ensure Staying up-to-date while keeping the history and culture of India intact.”
Alleging that Congress was creating unnecessary issues about the changes being made, Nagesh questioned the party’s intent. He said that there are many lessons like Akbar the Great, Life and Times of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, etc., which have been put into the history books.
“Why hasn’t anyone challenged it? What is the connection? When the BJP makes a change they are charging us? By adding the Hedgewar Letters, we create an atmosphere for children to be inspired, inculcate patriotism, and an understanding of ideology.”
On the inclusion of Hedgware’s letters, Nagish said this was not part of the exams but a supplemental text.
We do not force anyone with any ideology. There is nothing wrong with that. We have presented his letters only to help young children choose the appropriate form for themselves.
According to Nagesh, the rich history of India should be told from the right perspective and not through the eyes of an “intruder” like the British.
“The East India Company came to India for trade and slowly took over our land and ruled us for almost a century. They tried to change the culture of our country and the thinking of our people and this is what our young generation is learning today. We are making this big change as we showcase the glorious culture and scientific prowess of India, claiming that the system does not It still follows an old pattern set by the British and that has to change.
When asked why the works of progressive thinkers such as Kannada poet P Lankesh, founder of Lankesh editor Patrick, Anne Rao, and prominent Kannada Muslim writer Sarah Abubakar, the minister said there was a need to introduce topics that would enrich children’s culture.
“There is no particular reason why a chapter should be deleted. The textbook size cannot be changed. So in order to add something new we have to remove something. That is it. There is no ulterior motive,” he said.
Nagesh said that the Congress under Prime Minister Sidaramaya removed many works of great Kannada writers and poets and there was no protest at that time.
The Department of Education has reintroduced the works of several notable writers including those of Kovimbo (the first Kannada writer to receive the Jnanpith Award), who has worked extensively in children’s literature, and “Rashtrava” M Govinda Pai.
Regarding the language controversy, Nagish reiterated that the basics of education should be taught in the mother tongue.
“It can be any mother tongue. The NEP (National Education Policy) is also very clear about which languages students can choose. The choice is with them. What Amit Shah said is that if there is a choice between English and Hindi as a means of communication, then English is not an Indian language. ‘ said Nagesh.
He added that Sanskrit is a language that connects all Indian languages and also helps us to better understand Indian Sanskrit culture.
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