GN BUREAU | July 28, 2014
Dinanath Batra, president of ‘Siksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas’ and national convener of Siksha Bachao Andolan and also a member of the national executive of the RSS’s education cell, is back in news. Having earlier hit the spotlight for getting renowned American scholar Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism ‘pulped’, Batra’s books, which are prescribed in Gujarat’s school curriculum, are now in the eye of a storm – for teaching children lessons that are, well, somewhat bizarre.
Some examples of prescription for children from books authored by Batra:
Don’t blow out candles on your birthday. It’s “western culture” and needs to be shunned. Instead, wear “swadeshi clothes” this day, do a havan, pray to the ishtadev, feed cows.
Drawing a map of India? Make sure you include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. These are part of undivided India or “Akhand Bharat”.
* “We know that television was invented by a priest from Scotland called John Logie Baird in 1926. But we want to take you to an even older Doordarshan… Indian rishis using their yog vidya would attain divya drishti. There is no doubt that the invention of television goes back to this… In Mahabharata, Sanjaya sitting inside a palace in Hastinapur and using his divya shakti would give a live telecast of the battle of Mahabharata… to the blind Dhritarashtra”. [Read the Indian Express reports for more here and here].
All this – purportedly efforts to promote Indian culture and tradition – is prescribed by the Gujarat government, which has asked 42,000 primary and secondary schools in the state to make a set of nine books by Batra as part of the curriculum’s supplementary literature.
Nine books introduced in Gujarat’s schools, celebrate the ‘gurukul’ style of imparting education, prescribe a code of conduct for teachers and students that conform to “Bharatiya sanskriti” and redraw the map of India to include countries in the neighbourhood. Besides, four books in a series titled ‘Prernadeep’ compile stories about how a childless couple got children after doing ‘gau seva’.
Should such books promoting misinformation be part of school curriculum?
Tejas Express, a semi-high speed train, is supposed to run at 200 kmph. But, on its inaugural run between Mumbai to Karmali (Goa), it touched a maximum speed of 110 kmph. A few days before it was flagged off by railway minister Suresh Prabhu on May 22, Indian Railways claimed that the train
The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Jharkhand government and sought a report over 1,000 children being reportedly abducted and recruited by Maoists over the past few years. The commission cited a news article and said that it brings forth the sta
In 1998, as a 12-year-old, I was fascinated by the spectacle on display in the streets of Chandni Chowk, where I grew up, during the Chaudhvin Ka Chand festival, which recreated the Mugh
What restricts MOOCs’ acceptance despite having credits? It is just a matter of time. India has been used to the traditional way of education. However, the fact that India is the second biggest learner base for edX, after the United States, speaks volumes ab
Sameer Srivastava, a school topper from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, wanted to study in an IIT like any other engineering aspirant. But getting into an institution where only less than one percent of the applicants are selected was a big hurdle. Not cutting the IIT mark, Sameer decided to settle for an
There was a time in India when one had to go to a university and be physically present to attend classes in order to earn a degree. Then came distance education, making higher education easily accessible to one and all. The Indira Gandhi National Open University – better known by its ac