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October 29, 1998


E-Mail this column to a friend Varsha Bhosle

Class action

Three issues seem to have got jumbled up in the education ministers conference hoopla. One, the so-called RSS-sponsored changes in school curricula. Two, sleight-of-hand amendments to the Constitution by ignoring the rights of minorities as provided therein. Three, the chanting of the Saraswati Vandana at the inauguration of the meet...

It is now my considered opinion that the BJP should be called the OSP -- for One Stupid Party; I've no doubt that its collective brain was roaming the northern meadows in search of tender grass. What in heaven's name could Murli Manohar Joshi be thinking of? That the Opposition would lap up his Vedic agenda? That it would miss this chance to charge a saffron brainwashing of children? That the Great Protectors Of India (eg, Sonia, wife of the one who amended the Constitution to annul a Supreme Court verdict: "To take from the minorities the guarantees which make ours a secular state would be to surrender to those very forces which took the life of the Mahatma") would sit by twiddling their thumbs?

Sun Tzu said: "He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. He will win who has the capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign... If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbours."

BJP's chaalaks should be aware that theirs is merely a coalition government: They knowingly entered into an alliance with several parties not wedded to the BJP ideology. They *should* have known that Jayalalitha, Mamata and the Akalis would revolt. They are guilty of being ignorant of the temperament of their own partners; of not discussing with them the education agenda before publicly opening their big mouths. They are in no position to do their own thing, for the sovereign never gave them a full mandate. They are to blame for beginning a losing battle.

In my book, political imbecility is an unforgivable sin. I'm mortified that the BJP didn't even realise that it was doomed to be defeated. Sun Tzu also said: "We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country..."

The rumbling over education began last April, when Sahib Singh Verma's regime launched an education programme in Delhi's municipal schools. One part of the programme included tips on healthy living, manners, respect for the elderly, care for the environment, reading habits, traffic rules, etc; another proposed changes in history textbooks: New chapters would reject the outdated theory that the Aryans were invaders who'd displaced the natives, and explain that Babar built a mosque over the Ram Mandir. So far, so good. But then, chapters on Gandhiji and Lincoln were to be deleted -- and chapters on Keshavrao Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS, added. Now, Hedgewar may be God to swayamsevaks, but that hardly warrants a tutorial on him!

Naturally, the proposal was seen as "disseminating ideology through textbooks" and "rewriting history under the guise of moral education." Murli Manohar Joshi had plenty of warning: It was predicted that the BJP's efforts would meet a controversial end in Delhi itself since many schools opposed the proposed changes. Two institutions even complained to the Union HRD ministry, cautioning it to first have the programme screened by the federal government and its agencies like the NCERT...

And what are these earth-shaking issues for which Dr Joshi entered battle -- from which he then had to flee with tail tucked in dhoti? Courses on house-keeping for girls (only). Compulsory Sanskrit from Class III. Mandatory instructions on the Vedas and Upanishads from the primary to secondary level, as well as in technical and vocational training schools...

House-keeping for the little women folk, eh? I'll show you how domesticated we are! I've observed that one branch of Hindutvawadis -- notably those with loyalties to the likes of Dr Joshi -- seems to consider women as appendages. I know for I've been at the receiving end of affronts from several overseas "reformers" (who of course can afford to preach anything from a comfortable distance). The same goes for the chauvinistic yobs in the VHP. They're no different from the hypocrites of the Congress and CPI-M.

At a time when the world stands at the threshold of the most sweeping revolution in history; in an era when microprocessing is projected to soon subvert the nation-state, creating a new form of social organisation, the Information Society, WHY would I want my child to be burdened with Sanskrit? Doesn't he have enough with Hindi, English and his mother-tongue? In which country are even two languages compulsory, for India to add a fourth...? Like Latin, Sanskrit is defunct. Even in the plant kingdom, only that which adapts, blends, intermingles and evolves, survives. Why shouldn't natural selection be applicable to language, too? What's with this necrophiliac itch to raise the dead?

All that the Centre can do is ask state governments to rectify the perversions that decades of Marxism and Nehruvian Secularism have inflicted upon Indian history. And it must do so with yards of proof to support its guidelines. It has no right to mandate religious instruction; for that, there are gurukuls and madarsas. It's up to parents to decide whether their child should be taught religion and the extent of it. If Dr Joshi has read the Gita, he should know that in Hinduism, even spiritualism is optional. Besides, since he professes Swadeshi, why follow the foreign UNESCO's declaration on the need for spiritualism in education...?

But what makes me hopping mad is this: How DARE Murli Manohar Joshi put Hinduism in a position where its ancient scriptures faced rejection from pinko scum and minority-appeasing mongrels! How dare he take the step of proposing their study without knowing if it would be received with due respect! How dare he embroil the Vedas and Upanishads in a national tamasha! It's unforgivable. As far as I'm concerned, this man is persona non-grata.

And now for the @!#$%*& pinkos. These slugs have no face to reject the Saraswati Vandana or talk about the "indoctrination of children" -- since it's they who used the Durgapuja to woo the electorate of Bengal. Last year, well before the panchayat elections, the CPI-M itself set up over 4,000 puja stalls statewide. The vultures flapped down on the pandals because that's where the young gather -- the new generation reluctant to align itself with Marxism. For the first time ever, commies were allowed to participate in the puja and help its organisers; though in a discreet manner, of course -- to keep the theoretical Marxist bullshit intact.

The Saraswati Vandana was played before IK Gujral. We heard it before Sharad Pawar's address at the Akurdi municipal corporation in Pune. The prayer has always been common at schools and functions -- whichever the government: If you notice, no 0ne from the Congress spoke against it -- except for the Italian... But, didn't we recite "Our Father who art in heaven" all through school? And yet these pinkos have the gall to insult my religion by staging a walk-out?! Anil Sarkar has the guts to say, "Today they will play THIS TUNE..."?! Answer me, how would the Mosies have reacted? Friggin Hindus have *no* bloody spine.

And what's Kanti Biswas sermonising about the (educational) "need of the hour"? His party has a 16-year-old policy of keeping English out of primary schools! Not to forget Leftist gundagardi: Bengal's primary school councils, all filled with CPI-M goons, blackmailed the Ramakrishna Mission schools with the threat that if English instruction wasn't halted, the monastic headmasters would be replaced with state officials. For years have various bodies and political parties been campaigning for re-introduction of English, especially after it was realised that aspirants to the IAS failed to make the grade because of inadequate knowledge of English, and that the demand for English-medium schools was exceptionally strong in even rural Bengal.

Do you know of the Private Universities Bill, tabled in Parliament by Narasimha Rao's government? Fear of antagonising the Left prevented two successive UF governments from pursuing it. The Bill would have improved higher education opportunities and allowed new institutions to give state-run universities a race. The government wanted industrial houses stepping into the private universities sector, but since the CPI-M opposed the entry of private entrepreneurs, that was that...

As for distortions in Indian history, I advise you to look up Mr Arun Shourie's meticulously detailed essays on the subject. Here are some quotes: "The explicit part of the Circular issued by the West Bengal Government in 1989 in effect was that there must be no negative reference to Islamic rule in India... there must be absolutely no reference to the destruction of the temples by Muslim rulers, to the forcible conversion of Hindus, to the numerous other restrictions which were placed on the Hindu population. Along with the Circular, the passages which had to be removed were listed and substitute passages were specified...

"Itihash (Prachin), West Bengal Shiksha Parishad, 1994, on page 94 gives an illustration of the ruins of Nalanda, it says how important these seats of learning were. But it is studiously silent on who it was that destroyed them. After all, alluding to that would violate the Circular!

"And there is an illustration on the page to reinforce the message into the child's mind: Captioned, Dharmiya Utpidan (Religious Persecution), it shows a man in a bush-shirt flogging a poor person with a whip. In the foreground is a Brahmin, in a dhoti, with a chutia, a menacing frown, directing him to do so."

Well, what do you expect from trash which worships Lenin and Stalin? They invented propaganda and intellectual fascism!

However, what I find truly bizarre is Biswas's charge that by ignoring the rights of "minorities" and substituting it by the term "citizens," the BJP was trying to amend the Constitution... Nope, try as I may, I do not understand why anyone would want to first be set apart as a minority member, and then also expect to be considered as part of the national fabric. I don't get it at all...

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