Published: 06th August 2021
Is the decision to remove caste surnames of TN reformers like U Ve Swaminatha Iyer from textbooks two years old?
The last the Tamil Nadu school curriculum was modified was in 2019, when IAS officer T Udayachandran was the Secretary to Government (Curriculum), School Education Department
The Tamil Nadu government's decision to drop caste surnames of reformers in the state from school textbooks was in the news. However, a teachers' body in the state points out that this was not a new move and was done two years back.
Recently, news reports had surfaced about how religious reformer U Ve Swaminatha Iyer was mentioned as U Ve Swaminathar in a Tamil textbook removing his surname Iyer. However, reacting to this, PK Ilamaran, President, Tamil Nadu Teachers' Association, said, "The last time the Tamil Nadu school curriculum was modified was in 2019, when IAS officer T Udayachandran was the Secretary to Government (Curriculum), School Education Department." He pointed out that no modification had been made to the curriculum from 2005 to 2019 and the revised textbooks were printed two years back. "That was when caste surnames were removed," he says.
Apart from Iyer's, the caste surnames of scholars RP Sethu Pillai, Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and Pasupon Muthuramalingam Thevar were also removed. At the same time, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader S Ramadoss said that there is no point in dropping the caste names of achievers from school textbooks in Tamil Nadu. In a rather contradictory statement, he said that while the move of the government to abolish caste is welcome, the identity of the scholars would be erased by dropping their surnames.