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Karnataka government relents in the face of widespread opposition, to make ‘certain changes’ in the revised textbooks

Print edition : Aug 04, 2022 T+T-

Karnataka government relents in the face of widespread opposition, to make ‘certain changes’ in the revised textbooks

At a  protest march condemning the revision of school textbooks at Kuppali in Shivamogga district on June 15.

At a protest march condemning the revision of school textbooks at Kuppali in Shivamogga district on June 15. | Photo Credit: PRAKASH HASSAN

Succumbing to the widespread condemnation from opposition-party politicians, religious leaders, and education experts who accused the Karnataka government of saffronising textbooks, Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai stated that certain changes would be incorporated in the revised school textbooks in the State. Speaking to media persons in Bengaluru on June 27, Bommai said: “With regard to the textbooks’ controversy in the State, a meeting was held after the receipt of former Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda’s letter on the issue and it has been decided that certain changes will be made. Some sections of the old textbooks will be retained.” Following this, the Education Department issued an order with a corrigendum rectifying at least eight errors in the textbooks.

Karnataka has been witnessing intense protests after it was revealed that the Textbooks Revision Committee, headed by Rohith Chakrathirtha who is a well-known votary of Hindutva, had recommended widespread changes to school textbooks in the State. Objections were raised with regard to certain aspects of the portrayal of B.R. Ambedkar and Basava (the founder of the Lingayat creed) apart from other issues. Protesters accused the State government of not only saffronising textbooks but also ‘Brahmanising’ the school education system by its excessive preference for upper-caste writers.

Development educationist Niranjanaradhya V.P., who has been at the forefront of the opposition to the revised school textbooks, said: “The textbooks were changed at the behest of the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh]. The BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] government has been functioning for the benefit of the RSS. BJP politicians who have been elected under the aegis of the Constitution are betraying the ideals of the Constitution.” Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and former Chief Minister of the Indian National Congress, urged the government to discard all the recommendations of the Chakrathirtha-led committee and retain the earlier school textbooks.