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Karnataka: Lessons on Bhagat Singh not removed but books will have Hedgewar speeches, says textbook society

The controversy over the alleged replacement of lessons on Bhagat Singh with speeches of Hedgewar erupted in Karnataka after the state unit of AIDSO protested against the move.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 17, 2022 6:42:12 pm
Recently, the All India Democratic Student’s Organisation (AIDSO) in Karnataka had organised a protest condemning the dropping of Bhagat Singh’s lessons.

Days after a controversy erupted over the alleged replacement of lessons on Bhagat Singh from the 10th standard Kannada textbooks with speeches of RSS ideologue K B Hegdewar, the Karnataka Textbook Society (KTBS) on Tuesday issued a statement saying that the textbooks are still in the printing stage and Bhagat Singh’s lessons have not been dropped. However, the body added that the revised textbooks also have lessons on Hedgewar.

Managing director of KTBS, Madegowda, said, “Although Bhagat Singh’s lessons have not been dropped, the updated Kannada textbooks will have lessons of Hegdewar. Only 70% of the textbooks have been printed so far and we hope to finish printing the rest soon.” A committee led by writer Rohith Chakravarthy was also formed to examine the social science textbooks of 6th- 10th standards and the Kannada textbooks of 1st-10th standards.

Recently, the All India Democratic Student’s Organisation (AIDSO) in Karnataka had organised a protest condemning the dropping of Bhagat Singh’s lessons. Ajay Kamath, state secretary of the organisation, said, “It is good news that the lessons of our real freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh have not been dropped. However, we oppose the inclusion of Hegdewar’s chapters in the Kannada textbook. We believe that Hegdewar is not an icon who we look up to in this country. RSS was against the freedom movement on many occasions and this is evident in the writings of many RSS leaders who wanted Indians to not waste time in fighting the British. Moreover, the revised textbook that is uploaded in the public domain includes a lot of changes in Swami Vivekananda’s chapter where a lot of his humanity lessons are excluded and is replaced with religious sentiments. Our demand is to make education secular.”

AIDSO is now organising statewide protests in Karnataka demanding the removal of Hegdewar’s lessons and to restore the humanity values and lessons of Swami Vivekananda in the 10th standard Kannada textbooks.

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The controversy also prompted Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to hit out at BJP on Twitter. He said, “BJP’s hatred towards Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh is out. After learning about Bhagat Singh’s contribution to the freedom struggle during his early days, patriotism among youngsters still runs high. It is this patriotism that the BJP is scared of.”

However, Primary and Secondary Education Minister of Karnataka responded to Mann, saying, “BJP has the highest respect for its country’s martyrs who fought for our freedom. The Karnataka Text Book Society has clearly clarified that ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh’ chapter has not been removed. Being a CM, before making any allegations it’s better to confirm with official source.”

Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D K Shivakumar also took a jibe at the BJP government in Karnataka and said the next freedom fighter to be dropped from the textbooks would be Mahatma Gandhi. “Today they are removing Bhagat Singh, tomorrow they will remove Mahatma Gandhi. Let us never forget the sacrifices of those who freed us from colonialism.”

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