The Karnataka government has put on hold a controversial proposal to drop certain chapters, including ones on Islam, Christianity, Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali, from social science textbooks to reduce the 2020-21 syllabi for students of classes 1 to 10.
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption caused to the academic calender of the year as the reason for revision, the government had earlier dropped the chapter on 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali from the Class 7 social science textbook. They further said chapters on Tipu Sultan have been retained in the Class 6 and 10 textbooks.
The move did not go down well with the opposition, which saw certain ulterior motives behind the decision. Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar said that this move by the BJP government is politically motivated. Pointing out that Tipu Sultan was a historical figure, Mr Shivakumar had said “History is history. You cannot change history. We will not accept it. Congress will take it seriously by setting up a committee to look into it,” he said.
Apparently under sharp criticism, the Department of Public Instruction issued a new notification on Wednesday on the directions of the Karnataka Primary and Secondary
Education Minister S Suresh Kumar.
“There is a delay in opening the schools during the academic year 2020-21 due to COVID-19 pandemic”, said the latest order. In this context, it said chapters were dropped to fit in 120 days of the academic year for classes 1 to 10 and the same was published in the department’s website. “However, on the directions of the Minister for Primary
and Secondary Education, the decision to drop certain chapters has been put on hold. A review will be done following which the deleted chapters will be uploaded in the website,” the order read.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kumar had issued a statement, saying that the decision to truncate the syllabus has not been finalised yet. He also made it clear that his department would not remove chapters unnecessarily.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Siddramaiah had attacked the state government on the issue. “The government, which has failed to control the spread of coronavirus, is using it as an opportunity to push its clandestine agenda of saffronising the textbooks,” he tweeted.
The BJP government has consistently called the erstwhile Mysore ruler a “religious bigot” and even scrapped his birth anniversary celebrations soon after they came to power in the state.
(With inputs from agencies)