Chapters on Tipu Sultan, the 18th century King of Mysore, will be retained in state textbooks for the next academic year (2020-21) but Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa-led government will form a committee that would take a decision to add both the positive and negative sides of Tipu Sultan in textbooks.
In October 2019, Madikeri BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan had approached Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, demanding the removal of lessons on Tipu Sultan from school textbooks. He had alleged the chapters “contain wrong information”, and that “Tipu was not a freedom fighter”. Following this, the minister had sought a report on Ranjan’s proposal from the Managing Director of Karnataka Textbook Society (KTBS).
Explained: How to read Tipu Sultan’s place in history
On Monday, Kumar said, “There will be no changes in chapters on Tipu Sultan in state syllabus textbooks for the coming academic year, but we have decided to form a comprehensive committee which will go through both positive and negative sides of Tipu.”
“MLA Appachu Ranjan had submitted several documents about the negative side of Tipu’s ruling in Coorg(Kodagu district), Dakshina Kannada and Melukote. These documents should be looked into, hence we will form a committee to look into this again,” Kumar added.
Earlier in December last year, a special committee formed by KTBS had submitted the report which recommended retaining the chapters on the 18th century King of Mysore.
Incidentally, days after Madikeri MLA raised his demand, Yediyurappa had said that the government was trying to remove Tipu Sultan’s history lessons from textbooks in the state. “Such topics must not find a place in textbooks. 101% we are not going to allow such things to happen,” he had said in Bengaluru.
On July 30, 2019, the Kannada and Culture department of the state had ordered the cancellation of Tipu Jayanti celebrations on the basis of a letter from Virajpet BJP MLA K G Bopaiah — the constituency lies in the Kodagu region.
In his July 29 letter, Bopaiah had sought cancellation of festivities saying they cause communal disharmony in the Kodagu district. Tipu Jayanti celebrations in 2015 were marred by clashes on communal lines between members from outfits like the Popular Front of India (PFI) and members of right-wing groups like the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in the Kodagu region.
During the clashes, a 67-year-old VHP activist, D S Kutappa was killed and a PFI worker was shot dead by a coffee planter.
According to Kodagu folklore, Tipu Sultan is alleged to have tricked the Kodavas into believing he would surrender to them in the 18th century, only to capture unarmed soldiers at a meeting. The Sultan, however, is considered by historians to be among the first freedom fighters to take on the British.
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