First it was the controversy regarding singing of Vande Mataram and now its this
D H Shankaramurthy: NCERT textbooks, which contain praises of Tipu Sultan, are Ã¢â‚¬ËœnonsenseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢
The Ã¢â‚¬ËœKannada driveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ began the process of claiming another victim when, close on the heels of closure notices issued to 1,400 schools across Karnataka for not teaching in Kannada at the primary level, Shankaramurthy said on September 18 that chapters pertaining to the warrior king should be removed from school text books because he was an Ã¢â‚¬Ëœenemy of KannadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
He was speaking after inaugurating the regional conference of Shiksha Bachao movement at Sheshadripuram College in Bangalore. In his speech, Shankaramurthy asserted that Tipu Sultan should not be glorified in history books, as he had taken an anti-Kannada stand by neglecting the language.
The minister finds Tipu Sultan’s role in Karnataka history questionable. Here are his justifications:
Ã¢â€“Âª It is said that the court language of the Mysore palace was changed to Perisan from Kannada
Ã¢â€“Âª Tipu also minted many coins, which were in Persian
Ã¢â€“Âª The sword of Tipu was also engraved in Persian
Hence, he wants the chapters on TIpu Sultan to be removed from school banks.
It seems BJP is in serious need of topics to incite communal passions. The role of Tipu Sultan in well known in history as a gallant freedom fighter and belittling his image based on his religion is like pandering to the ideologies of the uneducated, particularly from an education minister of a state with such high literacy rate. How does one adherence to a particular language makes one anti-locality? India is a multi-lingual land, languages change every 100 miles, so that means anyone with not liking for hindi is anti-India? The state minister’s arguments are absolutely ridiculous.
Girish Karnad, playwright who has studied in depth on Tipu Sultan and his play Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Dreams of TipuÃ¢â‚¬? was commissioned by the BBC Radio and broadcast in Britain in 1997, has this to say
We are a democracy, we all have the right to show how stupid we are Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but I think the minister of education should not exercise that right.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Maybe it is true that he used Persian. The Mysore court under the British issued notices in English for 150 years Ã¢â‚¬â€œ does that mean the Wadiyars were anti-Kannada? This is a ridiculous argument
Tipu was very versatile Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he knew Kannada, Marathi, Persian and Urdu, may be even French. You could not rule South India in the 1790s unless you knew these languages
This is not the first time such an incident has happened. Unfortunately I see a trend among the champions of Hindu nationalism to use political power to re-shape history to fuel emotions and garner support from among the masses. The flap a few years ago about the BJP government selectively editing national textbooks comes to mind. Senior historians and educators have denounced the tactics of the government where it hand-picked sympathetic people to serve on councils revising the textbooks. Professionalism, scholarship and the notion of fairness was shoved aside while schoolkids’ history was spun to glorify ancient Hindu civilization and to show the minorities of India as “outsiders” and in a very negative light. Omissions and distortions were used to effect in order to hide the fault and blame for the activities of the Sangh Parivar.
Once the achievements and contributions of to India of people who were Muslim are erased and they are essentially made to look like trouble-makers for India in every age and time, what is stopping the common man from harboring a deep hatred for Muslims and thinking them to be extraneous parasites?
How many people today remember the role of madrassahs in the Independence movement? Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband and others. And now these same institutions are very easily painted with the brush of terrorism. Such contributions are either ignored or all too easily passed off as having an ulterior motive (establishing Pakistan). Which is simply untrue, since Pakistan was an unfortunate last-minute political quirk.
The intention here is not to delineate and claim credit for Muslims who along with everybody else participated in bringing India to where it now, but when these groups are doing exactly that and claiming that Muslims as a community have just been bad news for India, some sort of wake-up is necessary
This article has been co-authored by Hidayath Ansari and Sharique Ahmad