Published: 24th May 2022
Adding, omitting and re-adding: Decoding the controversy around revising Karnataka's SSLC textbooks
Controversy erupted post the first revision of the textbook, with the chapters by AN Murthy Rao, Sara Abbubaker and P Lankesh removed
With the confusion behind chapters being added, omitted and readded from the Kannada tenth standard SSLC Social Science textbook, TNIE analyses what exactly has changed in the textbook.
On Monday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh released the new Social Science textbook for SSLC students studying in Class X. The textbook includes a biographical chapter on Bhagat Singh written by author Dr G Ramakrishna, as well as a chapter on role models, ‘Nijavaada Aadarsha Purusha Yaaraagabeku?’, written by RSS founder KB Hedgewar.
New chapters also included ’Shreshta Bharatiya Chinthanegalu’ by Shathaavadaani R Ganesh, ‘Thaayi Bharathiya Amaraputhraru’ by Chakravarthi Soolibele, which includes passages on Sukdev, Shivarama Hari Rajguru, Narayanguru and Periyaar.
The textbook had been revised two times. Previously, the textbook had four other chapters, including an essay on war by Kannada author Sara Abbubaker, ‘Vyagragita’ by A N Murthy Rao which talks about the eating of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, 'Mruga Mattu Sundari', by P Lankesh, and a committee-written chapter on Swami Vivekananda, titled ‘Thoughts of Swami Vivekananda’.
Controversy erupted post the first revision of the textbook, with the chapters by A N Murthy Rao, Sara Abbubaker and P Lankesh removed. In addition, the chapters on Bhagat Singh and Swami Vivekananda had also been omitted.
Student groups and political parties protested against the numerous omissions and removals, after the textbook had been uploaded to the Karnataka Text Book Society’s website. Though allegations had been denied, particularly on the removal of the Bhagat Singh chapter, the textbook provided to TNIE shows that the first revision of the book had removed the chapter.
Post several protests and criticism, the new textbook was released on Monday, May 23, by the minister, with the new textbook now available for download.
Up till Monday, the old textbook was still available on the website, with Associated Managements Of Schools In Karnataka (KAMS) general secretary saying that the issue had delayed the distribution of textbooks. “I had been calling officials nearly every day on the release, but they had been hesitant to release the book due to fear of controversy,” he told TNIE.
What the minister said...
Minister Nagesh defended the revision, saying, “We focused only on content in inspiring kids on self-respect, self-reliance, and on dedicating themselves to the nation. We didn’t focus on religions of writers.”
He said, “The chapter of Narayan Guru was removed from the History textbook of Class X to lighten the syllabus and included in the Kannada textbook. Few lines on Periyar, where he states Rama represented Vaidika and Ravana represented Dravida, have been removed, but the chapter on him has been retained.”
Nagesh said, “We didn’t have political orientations, unlike Congress which got the syllabus revised in 2014. In 2014, when the Congress got the syllabus revised, they got usage of words “Hindu” “maathrubhumi”, “thainaadu” removed."
Among 534 titles, while 83 titles of textbooks of Social Science from Classes VI to X and Kannada from Classes I to X are revised and approved, revision of the Kannada textbook of Class X has been at the centre of controversy. In this book alone, six chapters have been removed and eight new chapters have been added under the supervision of the committee led by Rohit Chakratheertha.