In a move that highlights RSS’ growing collaboration with the Centre in the field of education, an affiliate of the right-wing body has tied up with two Union ministries to ‘spread awareness about India’s contribution to science’.
RSS-linked Vijnana Bharati, has joined hands with Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous body under the department of science and technology, and HRD ministry’s National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) with an aim to foster ‘scientific temper’ among students.
On November 20, the RSS-inspired outfit will conduct a national exam —Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan (VVM) — across country’s schools, during which students will be quizzed on India’s contribution to science.
The study material collated by Vijnana Bharati for the students claims that the concepts of geometry, fractions, and algebraic formulae have their origins in Vedic literature as well as NCERT curriculum. NCERT officials could not be reached for a comment.
While the association of an RSS-affiliate with two government-run bodies fuelled speculation of saffronisation of education, Vijnana Bharati’s secretary general A Jayakumar told HT that they would only stress on those Indian contributions that can be “backed by scientific proof”.
Echoing Jayakumar’s stand, a Vigyan Prasar official said “We are not telling students about exotic claims such as the Pushpak Vimaan, but the study material talks about the discovery of zero and mathematical concepts of sequences and series as mentioned in Sangamagrama Madhavan’s literature.”
Countering claims that the move was aimed at saffronising science education, Jayakumar said “The only area where politics cannot enter is science.” He said the focus of the collaboration was on creating awareness about Indian scientists among students, as during their interaction with children they found that most of them did not know that Aryabhatta was a renowned mathematician and not just a satellite.
The Vigyan Prasar official said the collaboration was mentored by prominent scientists like former ISRO chief Madhavan G Nair, and the involvement of NCERT and Vigyan Parasar was limited to them offering expertise in order to popularise science in schools.