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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Dina Nath Batra’s plan: ban teaching of foreign languages in schools

Vanita Shrivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 29, 2014
First Published: 00:17 IST(29/7/2014) | Last Updated: 10:56 IST(29/7/2014)

No foreign collaborations for CBSE, ban on teaching of foreign languages in school and a call centre to inculcate “values and nationalism” in students and much more is on the wish-list of retired controversial teacher Dina Nath Batra.

Batra, who has strong Hindutva leanings and positions himself as an educationist, is demanding an overhaul of the school education and has sent in a string of proposals to human resource development minister Smriti Irani.

The minister is yet to respond to suggestions sent by Batra, who a few months ago forced Penguin India to withdraw a book on Hinduism by a US academic.

Though he denies links with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, Batra’s demands are being seen as an attempt to saffronise school education.

Read: It is high time that NCERT text books are revised, says Batra

His books were recently prescribed as supplementary reading in schools of Gujarat, where the BJP is in power, and have evoked strong reaction for their “absurd and fantasy” content, which is also blatantly racist.

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An alumnus of Lahore University, the 85-year-old in an interview to Hindustan Times defended his books, saying teachers should interpret the content and help the students to understand it. "I have presented short stories to tell students that we Indians are not inferior to anyone," he said.

Chief of Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (Trust for Uplift of Education and Culture), Batra, who in 2008 forced Delhi University to drop poet and scholar AK Ramanujam’s essay, has come down hard on the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) for making Sanskrit an optional language, clubbing it with German, French, Spanish and Chinese. Batra wants schools to go back to the system when Sanskrit was a mandatory language. 

 "Those who have studied German instead of Sanskrit are being taken to Germany for a joy tour in German. The expenditure is being incurred by Max Muller Society. This should be immediately stopped," his 23-page note, a copy of which is with HT, to the minister reads.

The national school board and the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT), which advises the government on school education and also publishes text books, should not have any foreign tie-ups. The CBSE should design a syllabus based on “Indian values”, says the note that was sent to Irani a few weeks ago.

Read: Historians slam Dina Nath Batra books, call them 'fantasy'

Batra has accused NCERT of distorting history, saying it was work of "Marx"(Karl) and "Macaulay’s sons". He also wants all Urdu and English words to be deleted from Hindi books. NCERT syllabus is followed by all CBSE schools.

Never shy of legal battles, Batra has taken the NCERT to court for “use of derogatory words” and teaching of “German instead of Sanskrit” in Central Schools.

Read: I have no connection with the PM, says controversial teacher Dina Nath Batra


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