After outcry, BS Yediyurappa govt puts on hold syllabus that dropped Tipu Sultan from Class 7 textbooks
Chapters that deal with the advent of Christianity and Islam in India are among the ones have been dropped from the state board's syllabus.
The Karnataka government has put on hold its decision to drop chapters on controversial 18th Century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan and his father Haider Ali from the Class 7 social science textbooks after a public furore, according to several media reports.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, state primary and secondary education minister Suresh Kumar said he had seen reports in the media about the revised syllabus and claimed that it had not been finalised. Kumar said, "We don’t even know how many days would be available for the current academic year, so how can we finalise the syllabus?"
Insisting that there was no question of belittling any person or historical incident, the minister in a note said the effort of the government would be to build and unite rather than divide society, Hindustan Times reported.
As per a report in The Print, a note put up on the Karnataka Textbook Society’s website read: “Content reduction link for 1-10 classes has been temporarily withdrawn.” KTS director Madegowda told The Print: “Education minister Suresh Kumar has asked us to put this decision in abeyance. We will update the new version in a few days.”
“Don’t read too much into this. Tipu Sultan is being taught in Class 6 and 10. So why is there such a hue and cry?” Madegowda further told The Print.
The Karnataka government had earlier decided to reduce the 2020-21 syllabus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapters on Constitution, Islam and Christianity were left out of school syllabus, according to various media reports.
According to a report in India Today, chapters that deal with advent of Christianity and Islam in India have been dropped from the Class 6 syllabus. The rationale given behind the move is that the students will anyway study about the topic in Class 9. However, the news report points out that in class 9, teachers have been asked to briefly summarise those subjects since the syllabus erroneously claims student have studied the topics in class 6.
News18 reported that another chapter on the Drafting Committee of the Constitution has also been omitted from syllabus of Class 7, stating that the topic will be covered in Class 9.
Similarly, the revised syllabus uploaded on the Karnataka Text Book Society (KTBS) website shows that in the Class 7 social science text, Chapter 5 that deals with Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan, historical places of Mysore, and administration of commissioners have been dropped.
However, the chapters on Tipu have been retained in the Class 6 and 10 books, official sources said.
The Department of Public Instructions decided to reduce the syllabus for the year 2020-21 in view of the pandemic and disruption in the academic calendar for the year, that has been brought down to 120 working days.
Responding to a question on dropping the chapter, officials said it should be noted that the students study about Tipu in classes 6 and 10.
A couple of months back, amid the growing clamour from some BJP leaders to remove a chapter in the textbook glorifying Tipu Sultan, the government had constituted an expert committee to look into it.
The committee, however, had recommended that the ruler cannot be ignored from the school syllabus.
Commenting on the development, Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar said that the BJP government was taking such decisions with a political agenda in mind. Pointing out that Tipu was a historical figure, he 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."
Soon after coming to power, the BJP government in Karnataka had scrapped the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, an annual government event the party had been opposing since 2015 when it was launched during the Congress rule, led by Siddaramaiah.
The BJP and right-wing organisations have been strongly opposing Tipu, calling the erstwhile Mysore king a "religious bigot".
Tipu was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatnam against the British forces. Tipu Sultan, however, is a controversial figure in Kodagu district as Kodavas (Coorgis), a martial race, believe that thousands of their men and women were held captive during his occupation and subjected to torture, death and forcible conversion to Islam.
He was also accused of execution of Mandyam Iyengars at the temple town of Melkote in Mandya district on the day of Deepawali as they supported the then Maharaja of Mysuru.
However, the scale of such suppression is disputed by several historians, as they see Tipu as a secular and modern ruler who took on the might of the British. While BJP and some Hindu organisations see Tipu as a "religious bigot" and a "brutal killer", a few Kannada outfits call him "anti-Kannada", saying he had promoted Persian at the cost of the local language.
With inputs from PTI
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