Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said that the textbook review committee has been “disbanded” as its designated work was completed, and the government is open to further revision if there is any objectionable content.
It has also been decided to make an appropriate revision to the chapter on 12th-century social reformer Basavanna, regarding which objections have been raised by several prominent personalities and seers.
The Chief Minister issued a press statement late on Friday following a raging controversy over school textbooks that were recently revised.
There have been demands for sacking the textbook review committee chief Rohith Chakratirtha for allegedly “saffronising” school textbooks by including in them a lesson on RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar’s speech and omitting chapters on key figures like freedom fighters, social reformers, and writings of noted literary figures.
There are also allegations of erroneous content on Basavanna and certain factual errors in the textbooks, including accusations of disrespecting ‘Raashtra Kavi’ (national poet) Kuvempu and distortion of the state anthem penned by him.
Clarifying that the distorted state anthem is not part of any textbook, the Chief Minister said the government has asked the cyber crime team to inquire into it and take action against those behind it.
He said the Kannada textbooks that were revised by the previous textbook review committee — headed by Prof Baraguru Ramachandrappa (during the Congress govt) — had only seven essays or poems related to Kuvempu, while their number has been increased to 10 in the ones revised by the current committee.
A chapter on Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda (founder of Bengaluru) has been newly added to the textbook, he said, adding that the previous textbooks had essays on Islam and Christianity, which have now been supplemented by essays on Hinduism in the new textbooks.
The controversy had erupted with some organizations raising objections over the alleged replacing of a chapter on Bhagat Singh with an essay on a speech by Hedgewar in the revised Kannada textbook for Class 10.
Subsequently, there were allegations about the omission of a chapter on Narayana Guru and several other prominent figures and their literary works.
The committee headed by Chakrathirtha was constituted to examine social science and language textbooks and revise them. The committee has partially revised social science textbooks from class 6 to 10 and Kannada language textbooks from class 1 to 10.