Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju on Sunday objected to a Supreme Court judge’s statement that Gita and Mahabharat should be taught in schools, saying this is against India’s secular feature and Constitution and will do it “great harm”.
Supreme Court judge Justice A R Dave had on Saturday said Indians should revert to their ancient traditions and texts such as Mahabharat and Bhagavad Gita and they should be introduced to children at an early age.
“Somebody who is very secular... so called secular will not agree... Had I been the dictator of India, I would have introduced Gita and Mahabharata in class one. That is the way you learn how to live life. I am sorry if somebody says I am secular or I am not secular. But if there is something good, we have to get it from anywhere,” he had said in Ahmedabad.
Katju, a former Supreme Court judge, said, “I totally disagree with Justice Dave’s statement that Gita and Mahabharat should be made compulsory in schools. In a country of such diversity as ours, nothing of this kind should be compelled or imposed, as that is against our nation’s secular feature and Constitution,” he said.
He said Muslims and Christians may not want their children to be taught these books and questioned if their children yet be forced to read them.
“Some people say that Gita only teaches morality and has nothing to do with religion. But Muslims may say that only the Quran teaches morality, Christians may say that only the Bible teaches morality, Sikhs may say that only the Guru Granth Saheb teaches morality, Parsis may say only the Zend Avesta teaches morality, etc,” he said.
In his opinion, he said, such compulsion or imposition will do great harm to the unity of the country.