Karnataka govt releases final revised copy of Class X history, Kannada textbooks, chapter on Bhagat Singh retained

Karnataka Department of Primary and Secondary Education released the final revised version of Class X Kannada and Social Science Books on Monday.

Notably, the opposition targeted the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led government after reports emerged that lessons from freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and social reformer Narayan Guru, among others, had been replaced by chapters on RSS founder KB Hedgewar and the work of “right-wing” ideologues. However, the government on Monday confirmed that the chapters for Bhagat Singh, Narayan Guru and EV Periyar have not been cancelled.

The government unit of the All India Students Democratic Organization welcomed the move. It read: “As a result of the widespread protests, the lesson of Bhagat Singh has been reintroduced in Class X. The government bowed to pressure and this is a victory for the popular movement. However, we remain opposed to including Hedgewar in the curriculum.”

The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education B. Congress and other opposition parties jumped in without reading the content properly. Changes were made to select parts of Kannada and history textbooks, where the previous committee headed by Barguru Ramchandrappa had erred on some facts. Moreover, the lesson about Narayan Guru from history was transferred to the Kannada textbook because the students were burdened with a lot of history lessons.”

According to the Karnataka Textbook Association, about 78 per cent of the textbooks have been printed and the rest will be printed in the next 15 days.

Highlighting the omissions and additions made by the former Textbook Committee, Nagesh criticized Congress for playing up voting bank politics. “Lessons from the Maharaja of Mysore and their contributions to social reforms have been reduced to a few lines of five pages. However, the lessons on Tipu Sultan have been increased from one page to six… The new commission has included sections highlighting the contribution of the Maharaja of Mysore (dynasty). Wadyar) in their fight against the British.”

Explaining the changes made to the chapter on Riyar, Nagesh said, “Periyar believed that Rama represented the Vedic culture and Ravana represented the Dravidian culture. Moreover, he was a fierce critic of Rama and even decorated the image of Lord Rama with slippers. This is not what we intend Teaching it to our children and it has been removed. In addition, we have also reintroduced Ramayana Darshanam from Covimbo, which was removed by the previous commission.”

Speaking of accusing textbooks of being “Brahmins,” Nagesh said, “The critics have been slashed down by identifying literary works with stratification. In fact, the previous commission headed by Barguru Ramchandrappa included the works of 19 Brahmins. No one questioned it. We are working on Providing knowledge based on content rather than stratification.”

Meanwhile, Campus Front India, the student wing of the People’s Front of India, has opposed the inclusion of classes on KB Hedgewar and right-wing activist Chakravarti Sulibili. The organization was reportedly mobilizing support to protest the state government’s decision starting Tuesday.

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