Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa made it clear on Wednesday that his government would remove history lessons glorifying 18th century ruler of erstwhile Mysore Kingdom Tipu Sultan from school textbooks.
“Such topics must not find a place in textbooks. Hundred and one per cent, we are not going to allow such things to happen,” the chief minister said.
Soon after his statement, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party tweeted, saying textbooks must be rewritten to portray the “real Tipu Sultan”.
“By ending public celebrations of Tipu Jayanti, Chief Minister Yediyurappa has restored dignity to Kannadigas. As the next step, textbooks must be rewritten to portray the real Tipu Sultan to our children. They should be made aware of the Tyrant's cruelty against Hindus and his anti-Kannada rule,” the party said in its tweet.
Earlier, BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan had demanded that lessons on Tipu be removed from history textbooks. Following this, Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar wrote a note to the Managing Director of Karnataka Textbook Society, asking him and other stakeholders to invite the MLA and discuss the matter.
Ranjan had alleged that Tipu had converted thousands of Christians and Kodavas, to Islam forcibly and that he had run his administration in Persian language, and was not a freedom fighter.
Soon after coming to power, the BJP government in the state in July scrapped the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, an annual event the party had been opposing since 2015 when it was launched during the Congress rule.
The BJP and right wing organisations have been strongly opposing Tipu, calling him a "religious bigot".
Tipu was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces.
Tipu, however, is a controversial figure in Kodagu district as Kodavas (Coorgis), a martial race, believe thousands of their men and women were seized and held captive during his occupation and subjected to torture, death and forcible conversion to Islam.
He was also accused of execution of Mandyam Iyengars at the temple town of Melkote in Mandya district on the day of Diwali as they supported the then Maharaja of Mysuru.
However, the scale of such suppression is disputed by several historians, who see Tipu as a secular and modern ruler who took on the might of the British.
While BJP and some Hindu organisations sees Tipu as a "religious bigot" and a "brutal killer", a few Kannada outfits call him "anti-Kannada", citing that he had promoted Persianat the cost of the local language.
With inputs from PTI