The Karnataka Textbook Society on Tuesday said that it has not replaced a lesson on Bhagat Singh with the speeches of Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh founder KB Hegdewar in Class 10 textbooks, The Indian Express reported.
The body, however, said that a lesson on Hegdewar is added in the revised textbooks. The lesson is titled “Nijavada Adarsha Purusha Yaraagabeku?” (Who should be the real role model?), The Hindu reported on May 15.
“Although Bhagat Singh’s lessons have not been dropped, the updated Kannada textbooks will have lessons of Hegdewar,” Madegowda, the managing director of the Karnataka Textbook Society said. “Only 70% of the textbooks have been printed so far and we hope to finish printing the rest soon.”
The clarification came a day after two student bodies – All India Democratic Student’s Organisation (AIDSO) and All-India Save Education Committee (AISEC) – had alleged that the Bhartiya Janata Party government in Karnataka had dropped lessons on Singh, according to The Indian Express.
“In the Kannada textbook, a lesson on a great revolutionary who sacrificed his life at the age of 23, Bhagat Singh, has been omitted, while a speech made by the founder of the RSS, which does not unite people but spreads communal hatred, has been added,” AIDSO had said in a statement, according to The Hindu.
It added: “This makes it clear that the ruling BJP and the Sangh Parivar have no regard for the great revolutionaries of the country’s independence movement, including Bhagat Singh.”
However, following the clarification by the textbook society, the student body said they would still oppose the move to include a chapter on Hegdewar.
Ajay Kamath, the Karnataka secretary of AIDSO, said that his organisation does not believe that Hegdewar was an icon to be looked upon in the country.
“It is good news that the lessons of our real freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh have not been dropped,” Kamath said. “However, we oppose the inclusion of Hegdewar’s chapters in the Kannada textbook. RSS was against the freedom movement on many occasions and this is evident in the writings of many RSS leaders who wanted Indians to not waste time in fighting the British.”
The body further said that it would organise a statewide protest against the move by the Karnataka government.
Lessons that have been reportedly dropped also include journalist P Lankesh’s “Mruga Mattu Sundari” (Beast and blonde) and thinker G Ramakrishna’s “Bhagat Singh”, according to The Hindu.