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Rajasthan govt must withdraw circular - Deccan Herald
Rajasthan govt must withdraw circular
Bengaluru, March 18, 2017, DHNS
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The Rajasthan government's recent circular directing all secondary schools in the state to purchase the collected works of RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya is the latest in the steady and well-planned attempts to saffronise the state's education system. The book, which is a compendium of the speeches and writings of Upadhyaya, is edited by a former state BJP president and comes in 15 big volumes.

Its concessional price of Rs 4,000 is more than a school's annual library budget of Rs 2,000. The schools have been told to buy the book from their local expense budget. Most schools do not have the room or a place to keep the book. Most of them do not have essential infrastructure and many do not have toilets. Enrolment rates are low in the state and educational outcomes are very poor. Instead of improving the standards of schools, the government has been trying to indoctrinate students in the Hindutva ideology, changing the curriculum and prescribing books and lessons with blatantly communal and partisan content.

Last year, the government directed schools to buy the biography of RSS founder K B Hedgewar for their libraries. The views of these ideologues on history, society and politics are not conducive to good education and can exert a wrong influence on young minds. Upadhyaya has written that the solution to the world's problems lies in Hinduism and that Hindutva alone is the basis of nationalism in the country. He has also written that "the Muslim problem has been facing us for the last 1,200 years" He thought the Constitution "runs counter to the unity of Bharat" and has virtually defended the 'varna' system. These are some elements in the philosophy of integral humanism propounded by Upadhyaya and lauded by BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The purpose behind prescribing books containing such views to students is very clear. The BJP government in the state has revised school text books also. They have lessons which hold that Aryans were native to India and even defend the varna system.

Saffronisation of education has been an important policy of BJP governments at the Centre and in states. This is more easily and effectively done at the school level than in higher education. The Rajasthan government's actions and plans are a part of this policy. It can do lasting harm to students by poisoning their minds and sowing the seeds of hatred and intolerance in them. It will only make the society more divided and divisive and politics more confrontationist. Proponents of divisive ideologies like Deendayal Upadhyaya are best kept away from children.