The BJP government in Karnataka has taken down chapters on controversial 18th century figures Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali from the Class 7 social science textbook. The decision was taken after Karnataka decided to trim down the 2020-21 syllabus due to the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Though, official sources claimed that chapters on Tipu Sultan have been retained in Class 6 and Class 10 books. The amended curriculum uploaded on the Karnataka Text Book Society (KTBS) website shows that chapter 5 that mentions Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the social sciences textbook of class 7 has been removed.
Furthermore, Karnataka government has also dropped lessons on Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed in Class 6 as Students will study the same in grade 9. The move to remove the chapters came in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. It was taken for the ease of students as working days had been reduced to 120.
Talking about the removal of several chapters from the textbooks, Karnataka Text Book Society director Madde Gowda said, “The chapter on Tipu Sultan for Class 7 has been dropped to reduce the syllabus by 30 per cent for this academic year due to delay in reopening of schools due to no let-up in coronavirus spread.”
He further added that as Class 7 students would have already read about Tipu in Class 6 and will read more on him in Class 10, dropping it for this academic year won’t be a loss to them.
Opposition slams Karnataka government for dropping Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, Prophet Muhammad from school syllabi
However, the omission of chapters on the controversial figure Tipu Sultan drew the opposition’s ire, who slammed the government for viewing everything from a political prism. KPCC President DK Shivkumar said, “BJP government views everything from a political perspective. They want to make their personal agenda as a historical agenda. This is unacceptable. Whether they may accept it or not, Tipu, Hyder Ali and Prophet Muhammad are a part of our history.”
Kumar also added, “Whether we celebrate Tipu Jayanthi or not, it is a different issue. History is history. The draft committee which is trying to change the syllabi, it is not right. It should be debated. We can’t change history, preaching things might be different. We will have to take this issue very seriously. I will set up a committee on this issue.”
Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa had earlier claimed of removing references to Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan has been a polarising figure in the state of Karnataka where people’s opinion about him range from him being a fierce freedom fighter to a tyrannical despot.
Last year, chief minister of Karnataka, BS Yediyurappa had asserted that his government was contemplating expunging references to Tipu Sultan from textbooks. Yediyurappa said that Tipu Sultan was not a freedom fighter and he doesn’t deserve a place in the school textbooks.
Following the statement by Yediyurappa, Karnataka BJP tweeted saying that the “textbooks must be rewritten to portray the real Tipu Sultan to our Children”. They added that children “should be made aware of the Tyrant’s cruelty against Hindus & his anti Kannada rule.”
The Karnataka chief minister had last year also overturned the previous Congress government’s decision of celebrating Tipu Jayanti by ordering a state-wide cancellation of all Tipu Jayanti celebrations observed in Karnataka.
While the BJP considers Tipu Sultan as a cruel oppressor who committed unspeakable atrocities against his Hindu subjects, the Congress party regards him as a freedom fighter.