Modification of school motto triggers fiery debate in Houses
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Modification of school motto triggers fiery debate in Houses

February 20, 2024

An insult to Kuvempu, says BJP; Minister Madhu Bangarappa expresses regret

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Legislature witnessed noisy scenes yesterday with the Opposition BJP denouncing Social Welfare Department residential schools displaying a quote at the entrance that reads “Jnana degulavidu dhairvagi prashnisi” (This is a shrine of knowledge, ask questions boldly).

They contended that it had replaced the slogan “Vidya degulavidu kai mugidu olage banni” (This is a shrine of education, enter with folded hands).

BJP members said it was the Karnataka Social Welfare Department Principal Secretary P. Manivannan’s decision to change the slogan at the entrance of residential schools across the State and sought action against the senior official. The change in the slogan, they argued, is an insult to Jnanpith awardee late Kuvempu, who they said had penned the previous one.

Raising the issue in the Legislative Assembly during Zero Hour, BJP State President B.Y. Vijayendra said the revised slogan, now displayed prominently at the entrance of many Morarji Desai Residential Schools, had ignited debate on various platforms, ranging from social media to staff rooms. He contended it was an insult to Kuvempu.

Meanwhile, the issue was also raised by the BJP members in Legislative Council even as the Government refused to entertain discussion on the subject during Zero Hour. “Discuss the issue under any other rule and not during Zero Hour,” Tejaswini Gowda, who was at chair, insisted.

Opposition leader Kota Srinivas Poojary demanded answer from the Government. When the ruling party refused to oblige, the BJP members trooped into the well, resulting in slogan shouting from both sides and House proceeding was stalled.

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When the House reconvened, the BJP members took back their protest after the Government promised to secure a response from the Minister concerned.

 Responding to the controversy, Education Minister Madhu Bangarappa, expressed regret over the alteration, emphasising the Government’s reverence for Kuvempu’s legacy and advocating for religious harmony.

He suggested retaining the original words while integrating the new message of bold questioning. Social Welfare Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa said the Government had not issued any directive, criticizing the BJP for politicising the issue based on remarks made in a messaging platform.

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