Karnataka: Educationists, writers resign from govt panels to protest revision of textbooks

Several scholars and educationists across Karnataka have resigned from state government committees and bodies to protest against the recent saffronisation of education in the state and lack of action against the textbook review committee chairperson Rohith Chakrathirtha, who allegedly defamed Kuvempu. 

A revision committee headed by Rohith Chakrathirtha and formed in 2020 to examine social science and language textbooks, recently had revised social science textbooks from Classes 6 to 10 and Kannada language textbooks from Classes 1 to 10.

Resigning from various posts, writers S.G. Siddaramaiah, who was president of Rashtrakavi Dr. G.S. Shivarudrappa Pratishthana, H.S. Raghavendra Rao, Nataraja Budalu and Chandrashekhar Nangli wrote to chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday, The Hindu reported.

“The recent unconstitutional attack and oppression in education, cultural, and political spheres of the State has left us concerned. The government’s silence and lack of action on those who have been openly inciting communal hatred undermining the State and federal structure has left us anxious and scared,” the letter stated.

Giving resignation from his post as president of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Pratishthana, Scholar Hampa Nagarajaiah said that the government did not take action against Chakrathirtha even though he made defamatory statements against Kuvempu and the state anthem. “Since the government has not only not taken any action against people who have defamed Kuvempu and the anthem, but since they have been made members of the official committee, it sends a wrong signal to people,” Nagarajaiah’s wrote in his letter to Bommai.

Prof. Siddaramaiah has also written to minister for primary and secondary education B.C. Nagesh and withdrawn permission for the inclusion of his poem ‘Manegelasada Hudugi‘ in the Class IX Kannada textbook.

Two prominent Kannada authors Devanoora Mahadeva and G. Ramakrishna had earlier revoked permission to carry their writings I’m textbooks

Further, educationist V.P. Niranjanaradhya declined an honour from Karnataka government for his work on the National Education Policy. Responding to the invite, he said, “The State government has resorted to communalise and saffronise education and in this process, no curriculum framework, constitutional values and education policy have been followed. Since this exercise and the programme to which I am invited both are led by the Education Minister, I stand by the constitutional values and boycott it,” as per The Hindu.

Protests against the textbook revision committee and its chairman Rohith Chakrathirtha are going to intensify with several student groups protesting over the changes and have planned further protests.

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