Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh has defended the inclusion of a speech by founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in a revised Kannada textbook for students of class X. This was objected to by some organisations, including All-India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) and All-India Save Education Committee (AISEC).
Nagesh said the textbook does not contain anything about Hedgewar or RSS, but only his speech on what should be an inspiration to people, especially the youth, and that those who have raised objections have not gone through the textbook. “Some people want to object to everything and they feel what they have said is only the truth and only their thinking has to be told to society…In that speech, Hedgewar had said that one has to take ideology, values and principles as his or her inspiration. He has spoken about importance of society and the nation. What’s wrong with that?” the Minister said.
All-India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) and All-India Save Education Committee (AISEC) are two student bodies which have shown resistence against the move by the state government.
The organisations alleged omission of a lesson on freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Also omitted are works by renaissance literary figures like A N Murthi Rao’s Vyaghrageethe’, P Lankesh’s Mruga Mattu Sundari,’ and Sara Aboobacker’s Yuddha,’ they said. The BJP government in the State is trying to force the ideology of RSS and the party into the textbooks, AISEC alleged in a statement.
“The founders of our renaissance movement and many great freedom fighters had hoped for democratic, scientific, and secular education. But all political parties that have ruled so far have been working out their own agendas in textbooks,” the student unions were quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Meanwhile, Karnataka government is considering teaching Hindu scripture Bhagwad Gita in schools. Adding that former president APJ Abdul Kalam had talked about the positive impact of the religious textbook, Nagesh said that there was nothing wrong with people of different faiths listening to the Bhagavad Gita as it guides life.