In a rebuff to the government, Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Academic Council has rejected a proposal for introduction of short-term courses in ‘Indian Culture’ and ‘Yoga’ for propagating spiritual and mythological traditions and establishing Indian values in the world.
The proposal was mooted by the varsity administration following communications from UGC and HRD ministry. However, the varsity’s Academic Council (AC), which is the top decision making body, rejected the proposal at a meeting last Friday.
The proposal to introduce three short-term courses in these subjects had come against the backdrop of right-wing organisations, including BJP’s ideological mentor RSS, insisting on propagation of culture in educational campuses to promote India’s rich heritage and restore its cultural identity.
“The draft for introduction of three short-term courses on Culture and Yoga was placed before the AC along with the feedback received from various departments on the same. The council unanimously resolved to reject the proposal,” an AC member told PTI.
The rejection comes at a time when the government, especially the HRD ministry, is being accused of making attempts at saffronisation of education. The varsity had last month circulated a draft of three courses among various schools and departments of JNU for their feedback.
According to the draft, the course on Indian culture aimed at expounding the importance of the country’s culture as well as exploring the etymological, social, spiritual, cultural and mythological aspects and establishing Indian values in the world.
“The course will contain the texts, thoughts and traditions of different cultures and include things like religious systems in Indian culture among others. Besides, it will have portions from Vedas and selections from epics and Jatakas and suggestions on readings of Hindu epics like the Ramayana,” the draft reads.
“There will be basic study of Indian culture to establish Indian rituals and values in the world and derive ways from these sources to make human life better,” it says.
The document further says that Indian culture cannot be understood without the help of “Indian literature, which are generally written by sages”.
“The course will encompass texts, thoughts and traditions of different cultures and include things like religious systems in Indian culture, among others,” it said.
It also suggested reading of the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita from Gita Press Gorakhpur (the official press that prints Gita in Uttar Pradesh) , Acharya Jaidev’s Vedic Sanskriti, Tulsi Ram’s Vedas, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s Sanskriti ke Char Adhyaya, among others.