Baragur Ramachandrappa: ‘BJP govt. is targeting me because mine is the ideology of secularism and equality’

The head of the earlier textbook revision committee says Minister should resolve the issue through discussions and with a proper methodology

June 25, 2022 01:54 am | Updated 10:26 am IST - Bengaluru

Baragur Ramachandrapp

Baragur Ramachandrapp

A day after four Ministers of the BJP government in Karnataka panned the textbook revision done earlier during the Congress regime, the former chairman of the textbook revision committee Baragur Ramachandrappa hit back and took exception to the “branding” of the exercise done by him.

On Thursday, Revenue Minister R. Ashok had defended the textbook revision done by the committee led by Rohith Chakrathirtha and said what was done earlier by Mr. Ramachandrappa was aimed at “minority appeasement”.

Responding to this, Mr. Ramachandrappa on Friday said that his revision was based on the Central and State curriculum framework and values enshrined in the Constitution.

He suggested that rather than mount “baseless allegations” against him and the textbooks framed by him in 2017–18, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai should convene a meeting of those who were objecting to the revisions done by the Mr. Chakrathirtha-led committee and resolve the issues in a democratic manner.

He shared his view with The Hindu on the textbook controversy. Excerpts:

Why do you think the committee led by you is drawing flak after so many years?

The BJP government is targeting me because mine is the ideology of secularism and equality and theirs is one of casteism and fundamentalism. Yes, I do lean towards Leftist ideology, but I have also been a strong critic of Left parties when I felt that there was a need to do so. This is evident in my speeches and writings. I have never identified myself with any political party. I revised the school textbooks as a loyalist to the cause of education and not as a communist or anything else.

Our committee’s revisions were adapted in 2017-18. In these five years, we got only two objections. The objections were for one paragraph of the lesson in Class VI Social Science textbook, ‘Hosa Dharmagala Udaya’ and another on Tipu Sultan. They were raised by Karnataka Brahmin Mahasabha and MLA Appachu Ranjan, respectively. This was discussed, with documents, and we decided after a thorough study by the DSERT and the KTBS that there is no need to remove any content. But later, the former Minister for Primary and Secondary Education S. Suresh Kumar ordered that these portions need not be taught. No other major objections were even raised over the last five years. But now the State government and the BJP are targeting me for their fundamentalist project. Having a difference of opinion is not wrong, but it should not end up as virulent targeting.

The Minister has said that there are 150 mistakes in the textbooks revised by you.

Mr. Chakrathirtha had earlier said he had found 800 mistakes in my committee’s revised textbooks. But now Mr. Ashok has said that there are 150. Instead of making loose remarks every day, the Minister concerned should resolve the issue through discussions and with a proper methodology. If I so wish, I can find mistakes in every line of the recently revised textbook. In the lesson on Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, we had given complete details about his reforms and achievements. But, Mr. Chakrathirtha’s committee has dropped two major issues such as providing reservation to the OBCs and voting power to women.

There are allegations that textbooks revised by you insulted Hindu gods and rulers and glorified Muslim rulers. How do you respond?

It is baseless. I believed in the Hinduism propagated by Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, not Nathuram Godse. My consistent stand has been against fundamentalism in any religion.

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