K’taka govt in a fix over authors’ demand to drop lessons from textbooks

The Bommai government in Karnataka has come under pressure over the textbook revision row as some noted authors and activists have asked the government to drop their works from the textbooks.

Following the development, social media debate over the issue is hotting up in the state. Many have proposed burning of textbooks in the coming days inviting wrath of right-wingers.

Dalit activist and litterateur Devanur Mahadeva and known thinker Dr G. Ramakrishna have asked the Education Ministry of Karnataka to drop their lessons following the row over omissions and inclusions of lessons by the TextBook Revision Committee.

The Revision Committee has revised the Kannada language textbooks of Class 1 to 10 and Social Science textbooks of Class 6 to 10. The Education ministry has also asked to review the II PUC History textbook.

Education Minister B.C. Nahesh has already stated that there would be no further revision of textbooks as they are already being published. It is interesting to see the future move of the ruling BJP which remained defiant to criticism so far over textbook revision row.

Sources in the party said that it was a tricky situation for the ruling BJP in the state. Devanuru Mahadeva is revered Dalit author and activist and any move by the BJP is being closely watched by Dalits, backwards and progressive thinkers.

The ruling BJP, which is pursuing an aggressive Hindutva agenda in the state, has managed to draw Dalits and OBCs towards it from the Congress’s fold with great difficulty over the years. Any move to antagonise them would have a direct impact on the upcoming Assembly elections and it is going to be detrimental to the interests of the party, sources explain.

“There is a controversy regarding textbook revision. It is said that one of my articles is being used as a text for 10th standard Kannada subject. The PDF on inclusions and deletions are being changed every minute. I am happier if my write-up is not being used in the textbook. If it is included, it will not have my consent,” he had stated.

Devanur Mahadeva had also stated that he is withdrawing the permission given for publication earlier. “Those who have dropped the lessons authored by L. Basavaraju, A.N. Murthy Rao, P. Lankesh and Sara Aboobkar do not know the culture of Karnataka,” he said.

The Revision Committee Chairman Rohith Chakrathirtha maintains that he does not know the caste of writers. “In a complex country like India, if caste is not identified consciously, naturally 90 per cent of people belonging to the same caste would find shelter. It is similar to liking the smell of one’s own kitchen,” he stated ironically.

Thinker Ramakrishna has stated that he will not give permission for publication of his work in the textbook. “The revision exercise of textbooks is going on a dangerous path. It is not pardonable that education is being used as a tool of politicking,” he said.




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