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K’taka government to remove controversial religious texts from textbooks: the Tribune India


Bangalore, September 10

The government of Karnataka is about to form a high-level committee to remove controversial lessons from class 1 to 10 religion-related textbooks. It will also remove controversial texts blaming vaidika dharma (Vedic way of life, Hinduism) for the rise of other religions such as Jainism and Buddhism in India.

The government will form a high-level committee to look at all of these contentious issues in textbooks in grades 1 to 10, sources said.

The committee is being formed because objections have arisen for the controversial text of part 1 of the subject of social sciences, prescribed for grade 6 students.

The controversial content speaks of the birth of new religions, especially Buddhism and Jainism. The lesson says, during the Vedic period (1500 BC to 600 BC, ghee led to a food shortage. The lesson also touched on the rituals of animal sacrifice.

The lesson further stated that it was believed that such rituals only serve to find solutions. Ordinary people couldn’t understand the chants as they were in Sanskrit, while Buddhism and Jainism taught simple ways that led to their growth, he mentioned.

The Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board had met with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in February to oppose parts of a chapter of social science textbooks. The Yediyurappa government issued a circular on February 17 directing that the chapter not be taught or used for assessment.

According to government sources, it has already been decided to withdraw this controversial chapter from the next academic year. “It has been decided to form a committee under the chairmanship of Rohith Chakratheertha, member of the Kannada Development Authority. The government will soon announce the formation of a committee,” the sources said.

It was also decided to appoint 16 other members, including representatives from Rashtrothana Parishat, the border organization of the RSS, researchers from the Mythic Society, Folk Studies and other reputable institutions. The committee will also include representatives of reputable educational institutions in the state.

The committee will review the content of pages 82 and 83 under the title “Reasons for the emergence of new religions” in the Social Sciences Part -1 textbook prescribed for 6th year students.

The content given in the first two paragraphs under the title and the first six lines on page 83 will also be discussed. Sources explain that content claiming the drawbacks of the Vedic religion giving way to the emergence of new religions will be removed from the 2021-2022 academic year.

The committee will also examine contentious issues related to religion in social science, environmental science and language textbooks in grades 1-10.

The government has already asked the Ministry of Public Instruction to form a committee of experts and academics to uncover any content that offends the feelings of any religion in the form of prescribed lessons for children in grades 1 to 10.

The government also said that a high-level committee would deliberate further on the report from the Ministry of Education. Sources said the government is expected to announce the committee soon.

The decision to exclude the chapter from teaching had already met opposition from experts who argued that students would lose critical thinking. It has to be seen how academics react to the recent decision to revise all textbooks in grades 1-10 on contentious religious issues in the state. IANS


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