Poets, academicians, teachers, lawyers, political leaders, civil society groups, seers and hundreds of people from all walks of life held a protest rally from Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway station to Freedom Park on Saturday demanding the withdrawal of textbooks revised by the Rohit Chakrathirtha committee.
At Freedom Park, the congregation was joined by former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar who extended their full support to the protest.
The protests were led by the umbrella group Vishwa Manava Kranthikari Mahakavi Kuvempu Horata Samiti. Karnataka Rakshana Vedike was also among the organisations that participated in the protest. The protesters said that in the process of revising textbooks, the committee disrespected visionaries like Basavanna, Kuvempu and B.R. Ambedkar and “twisted facts” which is why those textbooks were “unconstitutional” and should not be prescribed for students. The meeting at Freedom Park was inaugurated by writer Baraguru Ramachandrappa, reading out the preamble of the Constitution.
Advocate C.H. Hanumantharaya said that while the Chakrathirtha committee only had the power to examine the textbooks, they had no authority to revise them. “Today, a grave injustice has happened in the field of education. There was no Government Order sent to the committee to revise textbooks,” he said
Speaking at the protest, Mr. Deve Gowda declared that he will join the protesters any day and anytime until a logical solution was worked out on the issue of textbooks. “This movement should gain pace along the lines of Gokak Chaluvali, which was led by Dr. Rajkumar. Today, all organisations should stay and fight together to solve this problem.
Mr. Shivakumar said that the Constitution is equal to religious texts like the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran, and the Bible and such are times that protests are necessary to protect it and also the culture of the place. “This movement has our party’s full support and we will stay with the protesters until the government withdraws this circular (about textbooks). Although there are people from various parties, religions and castes here, we are all united by the flags of Karnataka and India,” he further said.
Amongst others who spoke at the event, was Nanjavandutha Swami of Spatikapuri Mutt. Citing examples of other such instances in other states where such dilemmas were found during textbook revisions, he explained how committees took impartial decisions and said that the committee here should have done the same. “If the people we have elected make mistakes, we have all the rights to question them,” he added
Along with retired judges Gopal Gowda and Nag Mohan Das, JD(S) leader C.M. Ibrahim, lyricist and music director Hamsalekha, actor and politician Mukhymanthri Chandru, Kannada activists Sa. Ra. Govind, Praveen Kumar Shetty, and others took part in the protest.