Saffronisation of education, a misguided effort by world’s largest democracy


India prides herself on being the world’s greatest democracy and a thriving secular powerhouse to boot. Though the recent decision by the state of Madhya Pradesh of making it a compulsion to teach Gita in Mudrasahs as part of educational curricula could prove detrimental to the facade of Indian secularism.

I believe the proponents of ‘Hindutva’ are up to an unwelcome initiative, which could trigger unrest and engender animosity amongst the muslim groups, ensconced in the state.

An ideal secular system by default not only follows the mechanism of separating itself from the religious ethos of its citizens but it graduates a level further by creating new spaces for all its inhabitants to practice their faiths with freedom — the by product of which is communal harmony.

The afore mentioned scruple, with due respect, has been violated by this absurd decision on part of the Madhya Pradesh’s policy makers. The logic behind inculcating the teachings of Gita in Muslim Mudrasahs in the state, to broaden the gamut of subjects taught as part of Suffronisation of education agenda is an irrational one to say the least.

No matter how much reservations and differences i have with the prevailing circumstances of Mudrasahs in Pakistan, i would never endorse such an absurd idea that would further alienate an already ‘vulnerable’ educational system from the mainstream academia.

The mordenisation of a Madrasah can be done by other means as well. Why bound a student in a random Madrasah to mandatorily study Bhagvat Gita as part of educational curricula? I believe it should be left on the will of any Muslim if he voluntarily wants to delve into the comparative study of religions or not.

A prime example of that could be Mukhtar Ahmed of a local Madrasah in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh who teaches comparative study of both Holy Quran and Bhagvat Gita just to draw parallels between the two faiths. This exercise is acceptable as his personal decision where a state owned body does not dictate his method of pedagogy.

A skeptical eye could sense a tinge of political gimmickry in this decision backed by the right winged Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) with the elections around the corner. With the recent Bodoland and Telangana separatist movements already shaking up the higher echelons of the Incumbent Indian government, there is no room for further sectarian rift.

The suffronisation of education by Hindutva radicalists draws uncanny parallels with the dogma of ‘talibanization’ that was incubated in Afghanistan and later permeated in Pakistani society by fundamentalists who try to coerce their own ideology on the masses.

Little had the paterfamiliases of Pakistan known during independence about a bunch of misled religious bigots who would convert the country into a ‘Pseudo Islamic state’ after it was emancipated from the mandatory humming of ‘Vande Mataram’ — a Hindutva ritual employed during assembly drills in pre partition schools.