The Karnataka government will soon come to a decision about the portrayal of contentious 18th century ruler Tipu Sultan in school textbooks, as they purportedly show the erstwhile Mysuru leader in a glorified light. The school textbook committee, headed by writer Rohith Chakrathirtha, has been tasked with revising the syllabi in school textbooks in the state. As per reports, the committee has submitted its report to the Karnataka government, and among its other recommendations is the one to tone down chapters relating to Tipu Sultan.
The changes recommended by the committee are to be implemented in social studies textbooks for Classes 6-10 from the 2022-23 academic year, the government has said. âWe have recommended adopting a neutral tone as far as teaching history to our students is concerned, by removing unnecessary glorification, factual errors and deviations in our history. It is not only in the case of Tipu but also in respect of other historical events and personalities,â the Times of India quoted Rohith Chakrathirtha as saying. He also said that the phrase 'India's first freedom struggle' will be used instead of 'the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny'.
The committee has also reportedly recommended that chapters on the Ahom dynasty of the north-east and Kashmirâs Karkota dynasty, among others, be added to textbooks. Sources told Deccan Herald that the chapter on Tipu Sultan will not be removed completely, but will be changed to incorporate factually accurate information. "We have cleared the imbalance. There was too much glorification in the books drafted by the Prof Baraguru Ramachandrappa-headed panel under the previous Congress government. That has been removed and we have maintained a neutral tone," the sources in the Primary and Secondary Education Department told Deccan Herald.
The committee to revise the textbooks was formed by Education Minister BC Nagesh and Rohith Chakrathirtha was appointed its chairman in September 2021. BJP leaders have in the past put pressure on the Education Department to change or remove sections in textbooks related to Tipu Sultan; they accuse the âMysuru Tigerâ of being a bigot and forcefully converting thousands of people in Kodagu and Mangaluru to Islam. However, while a row had erupted over the celebration of Tipu Jayanti in Karnataka a few years ago, there are pictures of BJP leaders including former Chief Minister Yedyurappa, R Ashok, Jagadish Shettar and others celebrating Tipu Jayanti.