In a clear sign of Hindutva ideology entering school curriculum in Karnataka, the State government has adopted the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar’s speech as one of the lessons in Class X Kannada (first language, State syllabus) textbook from the 2022-23 academic year.
The text of the speech of Hedgewar was recommended to be included in the syllabus by the Textbook Revision Committee, headed by writer Rohith Chakrateertha.
The lesson is titled “Nijavada Adarsha Purusha Yaraagabeku?” (Who should be the real role model?). It is number 5 in the Kannada prose textbook, which is now in the process of being printed. The committee had submitted its final report to the government in March.
From the Kannada non-detailed text, lessons dropped include those of well-known writer and journalist P. Lankesh’s “Mruga Mattu Sundari” and Leftist thinker G. Ramakrishna’s “Bhagat Singh”. Instead, writer Shivananda Kalave’s “Swadeshi Sutrada Sarala Habba” and M. Govinda Pai’s “Naanu Prasa Bitta Kathe” have been added.
Among the lessons dropped in the detailed text are Sara Aboobacker’s “Yuddha”, A.N. Murthy Rao’s “Vyaghra Kathe”, and Shivakotyacharya’s “Sukumara Swamy Kathe”. Among the inclusions in this section are Vedic scholar the late Bannanje Govindacharya’s “Sukanashana Upadesha” and Shatavadhani R. Ganesh’s “Shrestha Bharatiya Chintanegalu”.
‘As a writer’
Insisting that it was not an ideological imposition, Mr. Chakrateertha told The Hindu: “There was no pressure from any political party or organisation. This does not amount to imposing any organisation’s ideology on students. We have chosen Hedgewar as a writer and not on the basis of his ideology or organisation.”
B.C. Nagesh, Minister, Primary and Secondary Education, also insisted that there was “nothing objectionable” in the inclusions and exclusions done in the textbooks, while many progressive writers and activists have objected to what they termed attempts to infuse Hindutva ideology among students.