Although the Karnataka government is yet to confirm if references to Tipu Sultan in school textbooks will be removed in the future, it is set to be retained for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year. The Karnataka Textbook Society (KTBS) will complete issuing work orders for over 8 crore textbooks later this week. These books will be distributed to students from classes 1 to 12.
An official involved in the process said that they had not received any instructions on making changes in the social science textbooks in lessons referencing Tipu Sultan. The official added that the orders cannot be delayed further since it will take 120 days for the textbooks to be printed and supplied to schools.
Madikeri’s BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan had written to the Education Department in October 2019 asking that references to Tipu Sultan be removed from school textbooks. In the letter Apachu stated Tipu Sultan has been glorified as a freedom fighter.
Appachu further alleged that Tipu converted tens of thousands of Christians in Mangaluru and persecuted Kodavas in Coorg (now Kodagu). In the letter, Apachu also alleges that Tipu was against Kannada since the language used in his kingdom was Persian.
The Education Department formed an expert panel to study the issue in November but reportedly, the panel was disappointed by the lack of evidence and documents presented by Apachu Ranjan to back up his claims.
In December, the expert panel sent a report to the Education Minister suggesting that there was no need to make changes to the references of Tipu in textbooks.
Tipu Sultan ruled the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom from 1782 to 1799 and was involved in multiple battles against the British East India Company for territory in south India. In 2019, just months after coming to power, the BJP-led Karnataka government decided to cancel Tipu Jayanti celebrations held officially by the state government. The celebrations were introduced in November 2015 when the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government introduced it for the first time.
Since 2015, Tipu Jayanti celebrations have been marred by campaigns run by BJP and pro-Hindu groups claiming that Tipu Sultan had persecuted Kodavas and Christians. Despite that, the Congress government led by then CM Siddaramaiah continued to celebrate Tipu Jayanti.