By February, three Indian universities will be teaching Vedic mathematics, thanks to memorandums of understanding signed with the Shiksha Bachao Andolan of Dinanath Batra, widely known for his Hindutva-inspired ideas on education. The latest is Punjab Technical University (PTU), which begins the six-month certificate course in February.
Batra courted controversy this year when he got author Wendy Doniger’s book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ pulped. His organization has also prepared a school syllabus in Vedic mathematics for classes 1 to 12 and is looking to design a full diploma course next year.
“We are providing PTU with the syllabus and resource persons and they will start both regular and online certificate courses,” Shiksha Bachao Andolan co-coordinator Atul Kothari told HT. The organization is widely seen as an offshoot of the RSS, but Kothari firmly denied any such association.
“As for our syllabus, the idea is to see in what ways Vedic maths can be used to simplify the subject within the CBSE format,” he said.
Kothari added that the organization had been lobbying with governments for Indianisation of education, but refused to answer whether a BJP government at the Centre made it easier to push for its policies. “I had met (former HRD minister) Kapil Sibal too. We do our work irrespective of the government,” he said.
This is the third MoU the think tank has signed with universities to push for Vedic mathematics, believed to be an ancient system of solving mathematical problems with the help of the Vedas. Other agreements were signed with the Kalidas Sanskrit University in Nagpur and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University in Bhopal where courses have begun, Kothari said.
“There is a lot of scope for research in this field. Some mathematicians in England are also exploring it. Vedic mathematics provides children new methods to solve problems and is thus useful for teacher training too,” Ashish Arora, who teaches maths at Punjab Technical University told HT, confirming that the course is all set to begin. Founded in 1997 under a Punjab legislature law, the university has 494 affiliated colleges today.