Lessons from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Gita may soon be taught in schools and colleges as part of the National Democratic Alliance government’s plan to rid the country of “cultural pollution” and inculcate “values” among young minds.
Ministries of Culture and Human Resource Development are working on a plan to teach students about India’s cultural values following detailed deliberations at a meeting of education and culture ministers of Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states and the Centre, besides Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliates.
Giving details of the plan, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma said the government will not be deterred by criticism that it was trying to promote RSS ideology.
“We want to bring it as part of our culture that they (students) should be taught values, they should be taught teachings of Mahabharata, teachings of Ramayana, they should be taught teachings of Gita and all other spiritual values irrespective of caste, creed and religion,” Sharma said.
The minister said the thought process of a “particular family which has dominated politics of the country for over 60 years” has been incorporated into the education system and that “NDA government is determined to restore India’s cultural heritage”.
“Dynasty has been there. Indirectly or directly, you may put the blame on thinking of that family. It’s a system which works. By and large, the thought process of that family has been incorporated (into the system),” he said.
Asked whether Central Board of Secondary Education will be asked to incorporate teachings of Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana into the textbooks, the minister said, “There has been a discussion on this issue in what best manner it can be done.”
On criticism that the NDA government was trying to impose RSS’ ideology Sharma said people of India have given a huge mandate to Narendra Modi and there is nothing wrong in making systemic changes.
“What is RSS ideology, is it anti-national?, Has any of the heads of RSS been anti-national? Are they extremists? What has been wrong about the RSS ideology? I have been with RSS for last 40 years. They never talk of anti-national things.
“If at all saffronisation has been done, it has been done by none other than 125 crore people of the country who gave us a huge mandate. They knew what is RSS, what is BJP. They have given us a mandate to run the country,” said Sharma.
Sharma said contributions of nationalist leaders including Subhas Chandra Bose and Deen Dayal Upadhyay may feature in the revamped Nehru Memmorial Library and Museum as it has been set up to highlight contributions of important leaders and not the country’s first prime minister alone.
The culture minister said there will be huge criticism of the government when it unveils its plans to protect India’s values and culture but it will not be deterred by such attacks.
Sharma said a major portion of the culture ministry’s annual budget of Rs 1,500 crore will be spent on revamping the 39 renowned institutions where modern Indian component will be incorporated.
He said “cultural pollution” has badly affected India and the NDA government is now trying to address the problem.
The minister said the previous governments did not take due care to protect India’s values, culture and heritage.
He said Centre has planned to make the museums and places related to its culture centres of India’s heritage and values.
The minister said the government will put major focus on promoting various Indian languages including Sanskrit. “We are forced to learn in a language which is not close to our heart,” he said referring to English. Sharma, however, insisted he was not against any foreign language.
“The world acknowledges that India is a country, which has rich heritage and culture and they salute our culture. Even the European countries want to follow our culture. They are sending their people to learn our culture.
“They are literally mesmerised by Indian cultural values. Over the years it has happened that we are following the western culture. I do not say western culture is bad but it may not fit into our social structure,” he said.