4 July 2016

Saffronisation of Education

Is it a step towards integrity or textbook politics?

Did you know that Madhavacharya discovered Newton's power series, or that the Qutub Minar was built by Emperor Samudragupta and its real name was Vishnu Stambha, or that 1000 years before Copernicus – In the 5th century, Aryabhatta stated that the Earth is round, it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun, and is suspended in space, or that the Vedas are the reservoir of all wisdom of the universe, they contain the knowledge of Art, Music, Linguistics, Economics, Religion, Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Medicine, Architecture, and so much more?
These are few of the “facts” about the world and national history that lacs of students are learning as a part of their curriculum under RSS-run schools all over India.

The Rashtriya Swamayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has set up a consultative body to ensure that the Narendra Modi government moves ahead with the saffronisation of the country’s education system – a move that seems to digress underlying impact and the erroneous details and portrayals regarding minorities and different ideologies other than Hinduism.
Partisans of the decision claims that the project is an attempt to address the 'past glory of India' and the curriculum is believed to be widely influenced by 'Vedas' and 'Upanishads' that the Sangh Parivar deem to be the intuition of ancient 'Bharat' and will thrust the sense of patriotism(hopefully) into students. Very well! To be fair, ancient India has also produced books like the 'Kamasutra', a super comprehensive volume on the several ways of enjoying carnal pleasure, and the highly caste-ist Manusmriti. But don’t worry, your kids probably won’t learn them because they do not advance the ‘pure’ and ‘perfect’ picture of India’s past that the Government wants them to learn.

Critics believe that saffronising education is an attempt to communalise history, to promote the Aryans, ‘predecessors of modern Hinduism’, and reduce Muslims and the other ‘dreadful minorities’ to invaders or converts. Muslim rulers like the Mughals will either be eliminated from textbooks or painted as barbaric philistines who plundered ‘the land of Hindus’ and destroyed its sanctity. The idea clearly is to influence the direction of funding and scholarship towards the Sangh Parivar’s communal agenda and to ensure appointments for RSS sympathizers in the field of education in a manner that had been done in the media institutions in the post-emergency period by Mr. Advani.

The moral of the story is thus clear. It is time to re-examine the unnecessary politicization of the question of value education through the fundamentals of all religions, including Hinduism, in India.
This kind of thinking is against humanity and anti-progressive. It is a clear shadow of the prejudice and dogmatic approach of the RSS. The very fact that children are the bearer of the future of this great nation cannot be taken lightly and they deserve an education which is unbiased and profound about its historical culture and antiquity.


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