Though the tug-of-war between the BJP and Congress over Tipu Sultan in Karnataka is not new, the two political parties have once again locked horns over the former ruler of Mysore. This time, after chapters pertaining to Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali, Prophet Mohammed and the Constitution were omitted from textbooks of Class 11 students.
With schools being closed in view of the pandemic, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) decided to abbreviate the syllabi of schools. Under the premise that schools would reopen on September 1 across Karnataka, a 30% cut was recommended, with the deleted chapters substituted through assignments.
Deletion of particular chapters in Social Studies textbooks relating to history of Mysuru during the time of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali, as well as the Constitution, Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, amongst others, gave way to Opposition parties and sections of civil society accusing the BJP government of furthering their ideological agenda through these cuts.
Karnataka Congress Chief and former minister DK Shivakumar said, â€śThe BJP government in Karnataka is looking at everything in a political light. They want to make their personal agenda replace history. This canâ€™t be accepted. Itâ€™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.â€ť
Shivakumar further emphasised that the Congress will take this up with the Karnataka government. â€śThe draft committee is trying to change the curriculum and textbooks 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.â€ť
But the BJP defended their governmentâ€™s move, claiming that there was no political agenda and the deletion is only temporary. Speaking to TNM, BJP spokesperson S Prakash said, â€śIn 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; it has been deleted temporarily. The charge that it has been deleted deliberately is far from the truth and is being made with a mischievous intention.â€ť