'There is no harm in children studying the Vedas; it is part of Indian culture and history... The aim is not to saffronise education,' Shiksha Bachao Andolan chief Dinanath Batra tells Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com
Dinanath Batra, who hit the headlines in February after getting publishing company Penguin India to pulp Wendy Doninger's book on Hinduism, won't give up.
The teacher-turned-activist, who in 2011 was responsible for removing a reference to Bhagat Singh as a terrorist from an National Council of Educational Research and Training school textbook and currently runs the Shiksha Bachao Andolan, recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Human Resource Development Ministry seeking a revision of school text books claiming that many aspects had been depicted wrongly.
While the Modi government is setting up a commission on educational reforms, Batra has gone ahead and set up his own commission to give the correct picture to the Indian education system. He explained his mission to Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com
"The commission I have set up is non-governmental. I am not waiting for central funds and will go about my job. There is an absolute need to study the ancient glory of our nation and hence teachings from the Vedas should be included in textbooks."
"We have not started this organisation so that it can run parallel to what the government is doing. It would basically study the entire system over a period of few years and then submit a report to the government."
"We operate from an office in Delhi. The commission -- called the Non Governmental Education Commission -- has 31 members, including me. We have highly educated persons in the commission who understand the need for change in the education system. A report will be submitted to the government."
"The basic idea would be to introduce a system of education which is rooted in India's culture."
"We want to take education further and give the children the correct picture. There are already some universities which have effected a change in their education system with the introduction of value education, integral humanism and also Vedic math."
"We would like to recommend to the government to introduce Vedas into our textbooks. I am aware of all the criticism by a certain quarter, but trust me it is important to have the Vedas in our textbooks. The aim is not to saffronise education as has been portrayed by many."
"The aim is to educate and give the children the correct picture of India. I have always maintained that there is no harm in children studying the history of India. There is nothing wrong in including the Vedas into textbooks as it is part of Indian culture and history."
"It is wrong to teach our children distorted facts as is present today. We need to change that system and give the children the correct picture. Our commission will look into all these aspects and recommend changes to the government."
"We have so many greats in India whose names are not prominent in our textbooks. The lives and contributions of all the Indian greats should be made known to our children and hence I had sought a complete revision."
"We want to suggest changes so that society at large benefits and so that the education system is not worsened. There needs to be value education clubbed with modernisation."