In a move that has stirred up a political storm, erstwhile ruler of Mysuru, Tipu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali, and a few chapters relating to Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ and the Indian Constitution were struck out from Social Studies textbooks for Class 11 students.
As the schools are shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) decided to prune the syllabi of schools by 30%.
And the axe fell on chapters relating to the history of Mysuru during the reign of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali, as well as parts of the Constitution on J&K, secularism, Prophet Mohammed and Jesus Christ.
There were howls of protest from the Opposition parties and sections of civil society. They accused the BJP government of furthering their ideological agenda through these ‘únholy’ cuts.
Karnataka Congress Chief DK Shivakumar slammed the government saying “The BJP government in Karnataka is looking at everything in a political light. They want to make their personal agenda to replace history. This can’t be accepted. It’s up to them to accept or reject Tipu, Hyder Ali, Prophet Mohammad or even the Constitution, but they form our history. Already, whatever Tipu has done has been reiterated by the President of India in a joint session.
“The draft committee is trying to change the curriculum and textbooks and this should be debated. We will take this up very seriously. I will set up a committee to look into this. You (BJP) may not accept the Constitution but it is not for the Karnataka government to change it.”
BJP spokesperson S Prakash was quoted in the media as saying: “In view of the Covid crisis, the academic curriculum has been curtailed. So the Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT) has recommended a 30% cut in the syllabus. The chapters related to Tipu Sultan are being continued for Class 7 and 10 and are being discontinued only for Class 11 as recommended by the technical committee; these have been deleted temporarily. The charge that it has been deleted deliberately is far from the truth and is being made with a mischievous intention.”
However, the BJP defended the government’s move, claiming that there was no political agenda and the deletion is only temporary.