Saffronisation: Activists rip through Textbook Society's defence

BJP imposing its biases on education system, they say

The clarifications given by the The Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT) on the allegations of ‘saffronisation’ of textbooks have only fuelled the anger among certain sections protesting against the contents of the new books.

On Monday, the Textbook Society had clarified that a few errors had been rectified and that it was open to suggestions from the public. When asked about the lesser prominence given to places of worship of other religions as compared to temples, the Society had explained that it was because the authors were not able to find enough information about those places. It had said the lessons would be revised taking into consideration suggestions from the public.

“They did not get the information, because they did not want to look for it. This is just an excuse,” said actor and activist Prof G K Govinda Rao, who has been opposing saffronisation of the textbooks to be introduced for class V and VIII from the next academic year. He was speaking at a debate organised on the issue by the Karnataka Dalita Sangharsha Samiti on Tuesday.

Author Marulasiddappa said the textbooks will sow the seeds of religious bias among students and have to be stopped from going to print.

“The BJP government has carefully planned to introduce its beliefs among schoolchildren. The government has lost its credibility and will not return to power in the next elections,” he said. The definition of culture is not restricted to what has been represented in the textbooks.

In the draft version of one of the textbooks, where the India map is titled ‘Samskrutika Bharata’, Bhutan, China, Tibet, Pakistan and Burma are all included, calling them part of India.  Such mistakes would have led to crisis in international relations.

“What will be our reaction if another country portrays India as part of its land?” the author said. There are other burning issues in India such as malnutrition and poverty.

There has been no attempt to explain these to children, Marulasiddappa said.

Former education minister H Vishwanath alleged that the textbooks were compiled without any scope for suggestions or debate. Within a month after Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri was appointed Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, he had announced in a public meeting that the blueprint for the new textbooks was ready.

This proves that the decision in this regard was not taken by the education minister, but by others in the party who had planned to impose their biases on the education system, Vishwanath said. He would write to the KPCC and the JD(S) requesting their support on the issue, he said.

“The government is abusing the education system,” he said, asking the youth to raise their voice against misrepresentation of history in textbooks.

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