A day after Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa dropped hints that lessons on 18th century Mysuru king Tipu Sultan would be dropped from the State syllabus textbooks, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education S. Suresh Kumar said a decision would be taken only after the textbook committee submits a report on the issue.
Mr. Kumar told reporters here on Thursday that he had spoken to Mr. Yediyurappa in this regard and that the latter’s statement on the issue had been “misconstrued”.
He said the textbook committee was free to include any expert in the panel to look into the issue. “We have not suggested any names. The committee is free to take a call on whom to include in the panel,” Mr. Kumar said, and added that the department would send the report to the government for a final decision.
Meanwhile, the BJP State unit has appealed to Mr. Yediyurappa to remove lessons on Tipu. It has also posted a book on Tipu and V.D. Savarkar to Congress leader Siddaramaiah, who has been a vocal critic of the BJP’s stand, to “help him understand history better.”
The textbook committee and officials of the Karnataka Textbook Society are expected to meet on November 7 to decide if lessons on Tipu should remain in the social science textbooks.
These developments come in the backdrop of the letter written by BJP MLA for Madikeri Appachu Ranjan to Mr. Kumar, urging that the government drop references to Tipu from textbooks. In his letter, Mr. Ranjan termed Tipu a “fanatic” and maintained that lessons on the Mysuru ruler need to be replaced with those “instilling patriotism”.
“The committee, I am sure, will take into account Mr. Ranjan’s sentiments. Mr. Ranjan has echoed the sentiments of many Kodavas,” Mr. Kumar said.
Don’t erase history: Siddaramaiah
Meanwhile, speaking in Mandya, Mr. Siddaramaiah asked if Mr. Yediyurappa and his party leaders, including some of his Cabinet colleagues, not realise Tipu was a “fanatic and communal fundamentalist” when they celebrated Tipu Jayanti some years back. He reiterated that the history of Mysuru was incomplete without the mention of Tipu and his father, Hyder Ali.
“The BJP government should not take such decisions just as Tipu belongs to Muslim religion,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said. “No one should erase, manipulate or twist history.”