The Karnataka government on Thursday deleted certain paragraphs on the Brahmin community from the social science curriculum of Class 6, after the head of a mutt objected to the content, saying it was hurtful to their religious sentiments, PTI reported. Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar issued an order to the Commissioner for Public Instruction to drop the passages.
Kumar also announced that he would undertake a comprehensive review of school textbooks from Class 1 to Class 10 to see if the chapters contained any other “offensive” references to a particular community. For this, a committee will be constituted comprising teachers and subject-experts, who will submit a report in 15 days to the state government recommending appropriate action.
“We hope to complete it at the earliest, probably within a month,” Kumar told The Economic Times. “I personally read the chapter in the social studies text of the sixth standard. They are not only irrelevant, but also beyond the comprehension of children.”
The matter was taken up on Wednesday, when Head of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt at Mantralayam in Andhra Pradesh called on the minister and expressed concern over certain sections of the textbook, which allegedly painted the Brahmin community in bad light.
The mutt took offence to passages that spoke about how there was a scarcity of food during the Vedic period due to the Brahmanical practice of sacrificing agricultural animals and making offerings of milk and ghee to the fire gods during havans [fire rituals]. Another section that the mutt took exception to was on the birth of new religions, which stated that Sanskrit was the language of priests and the common man could not understand it.
In a Facebook post, Kumar said the seer of the Mantralaya mutt had telephoned him personally, telling him how the literature had hurt the religious sentiments of the community. “I have promised to the seer that the blunder that has taken place in the past and has come to light now will be rectified immediately,” the education minister said.
Kumar added that the opinion of majority of the people in the state was that such content was “unnecessary” and also “above the standard”, or too complex, for students of that age. Such provocative content will not only lead to confusion in the society, but also hurt the feelings of the
people of certain sections of community or society, he said.
In July, The Karnataka Department of Public Instruction had deleted chapters on 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan and some sections on the Indian Constitution from the social science curriculum of Classes 1 to 10 for the academic year 2020-’21. The textbook committee had justified the move, saying the chapters were limited as the units do not require separate classes and that they “can be introduced through assignments” and presentations.
Besides this, “entire lessons” on Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad were removed from the Class 7 curriculum. The state government said this was done as “pupils will study the same in Class 9”. Chapters on the Drafting Committee of the Constitution and salient features of the Constitution have also been dropped from the Class 7 curriculum for the same reason.
In the same month, the Central Board of Secondary Education had deleted chapters on federalism, citizenship, nationalism, and secularism from the political science curriculum of Class 11 for the academic year 2020-’21. The board also cited the need to rationalise the syllabus amid the coronavirus pandemic. The political science curriculum for Class 10 students was also restructured to remove chapters on democracy and diversity; gender, religion and caste; popular struggles and movement, among other sections.