Bengaluru: Some well-known authors and activists have petitioned the Bommai government in Karnataka to drop their works from the textbooks, putting the government under pressure.
A social media debate about the subject has started throughout the state. Many people have suggested that textbooks be burned in the coming days, provoking the rage 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 the 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. Nagesh 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 the textbook revision row.
Sources in the party said that it was a tricky situation for the ruling BJP in the state. Devanuru Mahadeva is a revered Dalit author and activist and any move by the BJP is being closely watched by Dalits, backward 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 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 the 10th standard Kannada subject. The PDF on inclusions and deletions is 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 percent of people belonging to the same caste would find shelter. It is similar to like the smell of one's kitchen," he stated ironically.
Thinker Ramakrishna has stated that he will not permit 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.