Bengaluru, Jun 10 (IANS): The textbook revision row in Karnataka escalated after the Congress called RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar a coward who submitted six mercy petitions to the British.
The BJP has retaliated by saying "if Karl Marx could be taught to the children, why lessons of RSS leaders cannot be taught".
BJP national General Secretary C.T. Ravi on Friday, reacting to the development of textbook revision, said: "If lessons on Karl Marx could be read, why can't students read the lessons of RSS leaders. The ideology will spread through the branches of RSS. They can only remove them from the syllabus, but not from the hearts of people. Former PMs Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi have failed in their similar attempts earlier."
Keshav Baliram Hedgewar
Criticising the grand old party, the senior BJP leader further said: "Lies and Congress are two sides of the same coin. Congress leaders have begged for the seat of power. Why were Congress leaders not sent to Andaman prison by the British? Why was only Veer Savarkar sent there? Why was Jawaharlal Nehru not sent to Andaman prison?"
Former Revenue Minister R. Ashoka has warned that the BJP would not sit quiet if changes in the syllabus are made according to the whims and fancies of Congress leaders.
Senior Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad claimed that Hedgewar admitted to writing 6 mercy petitions to the British. "We don't want to teach our children chapters on cowards. The Congress government will not approve the ideology of Sangh Parivar, the family of Hindu nationalist organisations such as RSS, will not be allowed to influence the functioning of any government department.
"No evidence is there to prove that Hedgewar was a freedom fighter. I refuse to respect individuals pretending to be freedom fighters... and who sought mercy from the British. Someone even referred to Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, as a freedom fighter," he said.
The previous BJP government had introduced a chapter on Hedgewar last year, after setting up a committee headed by right-wing writer Rohit Chakrathirta.
Former Karnataka Education Minister B.C. Nagesh said: "We made changes (in the textbooks) by taking these people into confidence. But they were hurt by these changes. We removed the lessons on Nehru and reduced the lessons on the glorification of Tipu Sultan. We brought such lessons that developed a feeling of nationalism among students.
"Though Congress ruled the country and the state for many years, they are not bothered about the education system. We were practising the same system framed by Macaulay," he stated.
Amid the warning of the BJP that it won't sit quiet over revision of syllabus, the Congress government has made it clear that it has already taken up the process of revision of textbooks.
Minister for Education Madhu Bangarappa stated on Thursday in Vidhana Soudha that during the ongoing academic year, the "unscientific and un-Constitutional content would be revised".
"The previous BJP government had added objectionable content to the syllabus. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah himself is concerned about revision of those aspects," he said.
Many rounds of talks have taken place with academic experts.
"Authors and litterateurs have also given their opinions. The experts who are giving advice that the syllabus taught to children should be scientific and have social orientation are not connected to any political parties," minister Madhu Bangarappa stated.