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In Bid to Push State Anthem in Karnataka Schools, Ruling Congress Faces The Music Over ‘Printing Error’ – News18

The BJP sought an explanation from the Congress government on why private schools were exempted from singing the state anthem. (Representational Image/News18)

Minister for Kannada and culture Shivaraj Tangadagi admitted that the words ‘private schools’ had been inadvertently left out from a government notification, while opposition BJP vehemently opposed this as ‘another insult to Rashtrakavi Kuvempu’ and raised the matter in the assembly

In an effort to further its push towards promoting Kannada and Karnataka culture, the Congress government has issued an order that the Naada Geete (state anthem) should be sung along with the national anthem each day in all schools.

But this order was not without controversy and the ruling Congress found itself answering for another major gaffe.

On February 1, an order of 2004 declaring Jaya Bharatha Jananiya Thanujaathe as the state anthem was officially notified. It was made mandatory for all schools, government, and semi-government departments, corporations, and boards and other related organisations in Karnataka to commence their day only after the state anthem was sung.

Subsequently, on February 16, an amended notification was issued changing the words “all schools” to “government schools, aided schools”, after a case was filed in the Karnataka high court.

Kannada and culture minister Shivaraj Tangadagi called it a “printing error”. He said that the first notification issued on February 1 included the words “all schools”. The second notification was issued on February 16 after a case was filed by one Kikkeri Krishnamurthy who sought clarification on what “all schools” meant.

There was a long-standing demand to bring in uniformity in the rendition of the Nada Geethe with a fixed duration of 150 seconds and delivered in the work by noted music composer Mysore Ananthaswamy. The lawyer had also sought that the Karnataka state anthem must be rendered in the tune composed by C Ashwath and not Ananthaswamy.

The February 16 notification was a clarification as to what “all schools” meant, and in that process, the minister said that the word “private” was inadvertently dropped.

“The note sheet mentioned all schools, but it was left out in the notification. It was a printing mistake,” the minister said while producing a fresh notification that made a specific mention that the state anthem must be sung in all schools — government, government-aided, unaided, and private.

Written by Rashtrakavi Kuvempu (Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa), the Karnataka state anthem is usually sung before every government event, but the administration has now decided to extend it to schools as well. The rich Kannada poem that speaks of the unity of India, its diversity, cultural richness, and peaceful co-existence of sister states while projecting self-confidence, respect, and dignity was officially declared Karnataka’s state anthem in 2004.

The opposition BJP vehemently opposed this as “another insult to Kuvempu” and raised it on the floor of the house, forcing the Congress to admit the mistake and issue an amendment. The BJP sought an explanation from the Congress government on why private schools were exempted from singing the state anthem.

Leader of opposition R Ashok raised the issue in the Karnataka assembly. “Why does the government have such an attitude towards Kuvempu? What kind of madness is this? Don’t private schools come under the education department, and why have they been excluded in the order?” he said, seeking an apology from the government to the people of the state.

BJP state president and Shikaripura MLA BY Vijayendra recalled another recent controversy where Kuvempu’s original phrase in government schools was altered, which he called part of Congress’s “appeasement politics”. The phrase read: “This is a temple of knowledge, come inside with folded hands”, which is usually painted outside government schools. It was changed to: “This is the temple of knowledge, ask boldly”, by the social welfare department. The BJP called it an insult to the poet laureate.

“This is another insult to such a great man of Karnataka,” Vijayendra said.

Karnataka’s law minister HK Patil, while admitting that the mistake was a grave one, said the “officials responsible for this mischief will face strict punishment”.

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