Nowadays we keep hearing that the stories in the school textbooks have deviated from the originals. It is also alleged that the same is done with some ulterior motive. As our children are grown up now and the grandchildren are yet to join schools, we have very little idea about the present day textbooks and their contents. But the other day I was just thinking about the text books of our times. Believe it or not! I could remember the lessons from our first standard Kannada textbook itself. I could even remember the names of the Textbook Committee members! As I look back, I feel a sense of gratitude for the troubles taken by the Committee in designing such great textbooks for us covering our school syllabus. The books were so designed that we enjoyed reading each and every lesson and the poems. Fortunately for us there was no KG (Kindergarten) concept in our times and our classes began from the first standard. We did not have the burden of carrying a number of books in a bag weighing several KGs to the school unlike the children of today! Rather we had the comfort of carrying only one textbook to the school for the first standard!
As per my memory the textbooks from first standard to IV standard of our Primary school were prepared by the following committee:
- Sri M R Srinivasamurthy (Chairman)
- Sri K S Dharanendraiah (Member)
- Sri N S Veerappa (Member)
- Sri ON Lingannaiah (Member)
Most of the members had the qualification of B A (Honours), BT. Sri N S Hirannaiah was the Director of Public Instruction, Government of Mysore, at that time.
M R Srinivasamurthy (EM Aar Shree JA Dgï ²æÃ) was a creative writer and great scholar who worked in the Education Department of Mysore in various capacities. His ‘Rangannana Kanasina Dinagalu’-gÀAUÀtÚ£À PÀ£À¹£À ¢£ÀUÀ¼ÀÄ (The dreamy Days of Ranganna) is a unique book that narrates the experience of a School Inspector. He was an authority on Veerashaiva literature. He chaired the 33rd Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held at Sholapur in 1950.
The 1st Standard Textbook
The first lesson in our 1st Standard textbook began in the most interesting way. The words in the lesson were quite in tune with that stage of our life. The words were:
- Aata-Dl (playing)
- Oota Hl (eating food)
- Ota Nl (running)
- Paatha ¥ÁoÀ (lesson)
Till we joined the school we were interested in only the first three subjects. The very idea appeared to be towards diverting our attention to the fourth subject - Paatha ¥ÁoÀ - reading of lessons.
The lessons began with simple words that had no complications of Kaagunitha (PÁUÀÄtÂvÀ) and Votthakshara (MvÀÛPÀëgÀ). But the fun began exactly when we moved on to the next stage. We enjoyed reading those lessons written in the form of small poems with great rhyming. I am giving a few illustrations below from my memory:
1. Ka Votthu (PÀ MvÀÄÛ)
Akka Akka -CPÁÌ CPÁÌ
Chekkuli Chikkili-ZÉPÀÄÌ° aQÌ°
Akkiya Dose-CQÌAiÀÄ zÉÆÃ¸É
Mukke Mukkithu! ªÀÄÄPÉÌÃ ªÀÄÄQÌvÀÄ
Vokkala Makkalu- MPÀÌ® ªÀÄPÀÌ¼ÀÄ
Ukkeya Hodedaru- GPÉÌAiÀÄ ºÉÆqÉzÀgÀÄ
Pakkane Beledu- ¥ÀPÀÌ£É ¨É¼ÉzÀÄ
Nakkithu Bhoomi- £ÀQÌvÀÄ ¨sÀÆ«Ä
2. Da Votthu- zÀ MvÀÄÛ
Guddada Mele UÀÄqÀØzÀ ªÉÄÃ¯É
Reddiya Maduve gÉrØAiÀÄ ªÀÄzÀÄªÉ
Bayige Laddu ¨Á¬ÄUÉ ®qÀÄØ
Jebige Duddu! eÉÃ©UÉ zÀÄqÀÄØ
Benkiya kaddi ¨ÉAQAiÀÄ PÀrØ
Kaddiya Pottana PÀrØAiÀÄ ¥ÉÆlÖt
Buddiya Deepa §ÄrØAiÀÄ ¢Ã¥À
Gadda Joke! UÀqÁØ eÉÆÃPÉ!
Genasina Gedde UÉt¹£À UÉqÉØ
Hegalige Adde ºÉUÀ°UÉ CqÉØ
Aloo Gedde D®Æ UÉqÉØ
Gudde Maadu! UÀÄqÉØÃ ªÀiÁqÀÄ!
3. Ya Votthu AiÀÄ MvÀÄÛ
Vuyyale Mele GAiÀiÁå¯É ªÉÄÃ¯É
Naamada Ayya £ÁªÀÄzÀ LAiÀÄå
Kuyyuva Dotige PÀÄAiÀÄÄåªÀ zÉÆÃnUÉ
Suyyuva Hannu ¸ÀÄAiÀÄÄåªÀ ºÀtÄÚ
Suyyuav Galige ¸ÀÄAiÀÄÄåªÀ UÁ½UÉ
Bayige Mannu! ¨Á¬ÄUÉ ªÀÄtÄÚ!
Ayyo Anna CAiÉÆåÃ CuÁÚ
Sabhyara Maathu ¸À¨sÀågÀ ªÀiÁvÀÄ
Ayyp Paapa CAiÉÆåÃ ¥Á¥À
Punyada Maathu! ¥ÀÄtåzÀ ªÀiÁvÀÄ
4. Words with Shakaara (±ÀPÁgÀ)
Shanivaara Shyamaraaya Shivanagudi Sheelavantha Adu Pashu Avanu Shoora Rajashekhra Shyla Shoka Shankara (±À¤ªÁgÀ ±ÁåªÀÄgÁAiÀÄ ²ªÀ£ÀUÀÄr ²Ã®ªÀAvÀ CzÀÄ ¥À±ÀÄ CªÀ£ÀÄ ±ÀÆgÀ gÁd±ÉÃRgÀ ±ÉÊ® ±ÉÆÃPÀ ±ÀAPÀgÀ)
The 1st Standard book ended with the famous children poem written by Professor G P Rajarathnam.
Jambada Koli (dA§zÀ PÉÆÃ½)
Bannada Tagadina Tutturi §tÚzÀ vÀUÀr£À vÀÄvÀÆÛj
Kaasige Kondanu Kasturi PÁ¹UÉ PÉÆAqÀ£ÀÄ PÀ¸ÀÆÛj
Sarigama Padanisa Oodidanu ¸ÀjUÀªÀÄ ¥ÀzÀ¤¸À H¢zÀ£ÀÄ
Sanidapa Magarisa Oodidanu ¸À¤zÀ¥À ªÀÄUÀj¸À H¢zÀ£ÀÄ
Tanage Tutturi Ideyenda vÀ£ÀUÉÃ vÀÄvÀÄÛj EzÉAiÉÄAzÀÄ
Beraarigu Adu Illenda ¨ÉÃgÁjUÀÄ CzÀÄ E¯ÉèAzÀÄ
Kasturi Nadedanu Beediyali PÀ¸ÀÄÛj £ÀqÉzÀ£ÀÄ ©Ã¢AiÀÄ°
Jambada Koliya Reetiyali dA§zÀ PÉÆÃ½AiÀÄ jÃwAiÀÄ°
Tutturi Oodutha Koladabali vÀÄvÀÄÛj HzÀÄvÀ PÉÆ¼ÀzÀ §½
Nadedanu Kasturi Sanjeyali £ÀqÉzÀ£ÀÄ PÀ¸ÀÄÛj ¸ÀAeÉAiÀÄ°
Jarithu Neerige Tutturi eÁjvÀÄ ¤ÃjUÉ vÀÄvÀÆÛj
Gantalu Kattithu Neeroori UÀAl®Ä PÀnÖvÀÄ ¤ÃgÀÆj
Bannavu Neerina Paalaythu §tÚªÀÅ ¤Ãj£À ¥Á¯ÁAiÀÄÄÛ
Bannda Tutturi Bolaytu §tÚzÀ vÀÄvÀÄÛj ¨ÉÆÃ¼ÁAiÀÄÄÛ
Jambada Kolige Golaytu! dA§zÀ PÉÆÃ½UÉ UÉÆÃ¼ÁAiÀÄÄÛ!
The 2nd Standard Textbook
As I was trying to recollect the lessons of this text book, my brother (AVL) came to my rescue. Believe it or not! He gave me the entire list of lessons in the book purely from his memory. The list ran as follows:
1.Shreerama Devaru (²æÃgÁªÀÄ zÉÃªÀgÀÄ)
3.Kaage mattu Nari (PÁUÉ ªÀÄvÀÄÛ £Àj)
4.Nari mattu Draakshi (£Àj ªÀÄvÀÄÛ zÁæQë)
5.Nariya Yukti (£ÀjAiÀÄ AiÀÄÄQÛ)
6.Hoovaadigitti (ºÀÆªÁqÀVwÛ )
7.Simha mattu Ili (¹AºÀ ªÀÄvÀÄÛ E°)
8.Tola mattu Kurimari (vÉÆÃ¼À ªÀÄvÀÄÛ PÀÄjªÀÄj)
9.Kashtapattare Phalavuntu (PÀµÀÖ¥ÀlÖgÉ ¥sÀ®ªÀÅAlÄ)
10.Hota mattu Simha (ºÉÆÃvÀ ªÀÄvÀÄÛ ¹AºÀ)
11.Namma Halli (£ÀªÀÄä ºÀ½î)
12.Nakaliya Shyaama (£ÀPÀ°AiÀÄ ±ÁåªÀÄ)
13.Dore mattu Aparaadhi (zÉÆgÉ ªÀÄvÀÄÛ C¥ÀgÁ¢ü)
15.Pattada Aneyakathe (¥ÀlÖzÀ D£ÉAiÀÄ PÀxÉ)
17.Haavina Haadu (ºÁ«£À ºÁqÀÄ)
18.Dasharathana Makkalu (zÀ±ÀgÀxÀ£À ªÀÄPÀÌ¼ÀÄ)
20.Seethaa Parinaya (¹ÃvÁ ¥ÀjtAiÀÄ)
22.Shreeramanu Kaadige Horataddu (²æÃgÁªÀÄ£ÀÄ PÁrUÉ ºÉÆgÀlzÀÄÝ)
23.Shreeraama mattu Bharatha (²æÃgÁªÀÄ ªÀÄvÀÄÛ ¨sÀgÀvÀ)
24.Maadari HallI (ªÀiÁzÀj ºÀ½î)
The book began with the story of Ramayana as the first lesson. The story appeared in different chapters but not consecutively. That was perhaps a clever way of maintaining interest in the storyline! The entire story was covered in a simple form. There were a good number of stories from the fables of Aesop – the first one being that of the Fox and the Crow. The story narrates how a clever fox manages to take away the meat from the mouth of a gullible crow by just praising its singing prowess! The moral of the story was obviously that one should not be carried away by eulogy. But we found it difficult to believe that a crow could believe that it could sing well with its creaky voice! But that was the power of eulogy!
Another interesting story was that of wolf and the sheep – Tola mattu Kurimari (vÉÆÃ¼À ªÀÄvÀÄÛ PÀÄjªÀÄj). The story starts with both wolf and sheep drinking water in the same stream. Wolf raises an objection telling the sheep that it cannot drink the left over (yenjalu JAd®Ä) water from the stream. But the sheep tells him that it was drinking the water in the lower side of the stream, while the wolf was at the upper side. Hence the question does not arise. But the wolf was unimpressed! He was just trying to find some vague excuse to attack and eat the sheep. He tells the sheep that on an earlier occasion it was at the upper end. But the sheep dismisses the same and tells the wolf it had come to the stream for the first time. This time the wolf tells the sheep that it must have been either its father or some relative! It then pounces on the sheep and kills it and carries it away! The moral of the story was – people who are powerful will attack the weak even on flimsy grounds!
Another story that was quite funny was that of Nakaliya Shyama. Shyama is a jester in the court of a King. His duty is to keep the King in good humour by cutting jokes and creating some funny moments. He will be always in the company of the King. But his job is obviously a double-edged one. Any false move by him could attract the wrath of the King. That is exactly what happens on one particular occasion. A harmless joke cut by Shyama invites the wrath of the King. So much so that the King asks him not to show his face! Shyama is in a state of shock. He had to obey the orders of the King and he goes home dejected.
Shyama tries to relax at his home. He is thirsty and drinks water from an earthen pot. All of a Sudden he gets an idea. He goes to the market and buys another earthen pot. He brings it home. The next day the King finds a strange person in his court with his face covered by a pot! The pot had two holes in it to enable the person to see through both his eyes! The King is unable to recognise the person. He asks the Minister who the person was and the reason for him to cover his face!
The Minister tells him that it was none other than Nakaliya Shyama! The reason for covering his face was just to obey the orders of the King in letter and spirit! The orders were not to show the face and Shyama had strictly implemented the orders! The King was quite pleased with Shyama’s funny act. He pardons him and asks him to remove the pot from his face!
As far as I remember we had only one textbook for second standard also. However, we had to start writing our copybook from this class. Strangely the Kannada stalwarts could not find an appropriate translation for the copybook and we used to call the book as copy pustaka- ¥ÀÄ¸ÀÛPÀ (book) only! While the first standard text had focused on the reading aspect, the copybook was a tough exercise in writing difficult words. The book started with:
Shuddha Brahma Paratpara Rama
±ÀÄzÀÞ §æºÀä ¥ÀgÁvÀàgÀ gÁªÀÄ
Kaalaatmaka Parameshwara Rama
PÁ®vÀäPÀ ¥ÀgÀªÉÄÃ±ÀégÀ gÁªÀÄ
Leela Kalpita Jagadabhi Rama
°Ã¯Á PÀ°àvÀ dUÀzÀ©ü gÁªÀÄ
Kaushika Muni Sakmrakshitha Rama
PË²PÀ ªÀÄÄ¤ ¸ÀAgÀQëvÀ gÁªÀÄ
Brahmadyamara Prarthitha Rama
§æºÁäzÀåªÀÄgÀ ¥ÁæyðvÀ gÁªÀÄ
Chandakiranakula Mandana Rama
ZÀAqÀ QgÀt PÀÄ® ªÀÄAqÀ£À gÁªÀÄ
Kruta Vaivahika Kautuka Rama
PÀÈvÀ ªÉÊªÁ»PÀ PËvÀÄPÀ gÁªÀÄ
Bharghava Darpa Vinashana Rama
¨sÁUÀðªÀ zÀ¥Àð «£Á±À£À gÁªÀÄ
Gautamqa Muni Sampoojitha Rama………
UËvÀªÀÄ ªÀÄÄ¤ ¸ÀA¥ÀÆfvÀ gÁªÀÄ.. .. .. ..
The book appears to have covered the entire Ramayana in its own way. But the words were hardnut for us at that stage both for writing and pronunciation. At the end of the exercise, however, we found ourselves well-equipped to read and write our sweet mother tongue.
------To be Continued----
A V Krishnamurthy
4th April 2013