Haryana education and transport minister Ram Bilas Sharma said in order to imbibe good manners into the students, the state government has decided to include 'holy Gita' into the syllabus of schools. Dinanath Batra, 85, president of Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (SSUN) and national convener of Shiksha Bachao Andolan (SBA), who was appointed as head of proposed committee that will advise Haryana government on educational reforms, endorse the Haryana government move.
"It has been in the practice for thousands of years in India. The Gita teaches co-operation, morality, good behavior, honesty and devotion and there is no harm in incorporating this holy book into the school syllabus. Our state will be the first state in the country to do so," said Sharma during his address at a Republic Day parade function in Gurgaon on Monday.
"After a thorough research of two years, it was found that 'Sanskrit' is the only perfect language for the computers," he added.
However, while explaining as how Gita would get inducted into the syllabus in the Haryana school, Dinanath Batra told HT that all 18Adhayas (chapters) of Gita would find space in the books in a simplistic manner starting from class one. "As not all students study Sankrit language and not all schools these days teach this language, we plan to introduce the essence of the Shalokas in simple Hindi language for introductory classes. As the Sanskrit language will be taught in classes gradually, we would start introducing Shalokas in Sanskrit language also for senior students," Batra, the senior RSS ideologue said.
When asked whether Haryana government was saffronising education system in the state, Batra defended by saying that the education planning in Haryana would be done on the basis of the teachings of the national icons such as Mahatma Gandhi and recommendations of Kothari Commission, not on the basis of whims and fancies of the political leaders or ministers.
Sharma's statement earned mix but sharp reactions from across the leaders of various political parties and the educationists.
Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda told Hindustan Times that the BJP leaders have practice of politicising the holy books that have been already part of every human being.
"By saying Gita should be part of school curriculum the BJP has once again attempted to politicise the holy Gita, which we all are well versed with. This just an attempt to divert people's attention from real issues," added Hooda.
"The state has people of all the religions and in this particular case the BJP seems to malign minds of innocent school students. What about Muslims who live in Haryana in good number? Then all holly books of all the religions should be in the school curriculum," said Dushyant Chautala of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also criticised the Haryana government's attempt to include Gita in school book and termed the act desperate attempt to cover up its failure to fulfill promises in the state.
"The Delhi election is at hand and the BJP has realised the AAP impact and the failure of its party to deliver promises it had assured in Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
There are important issues like farmers' compensation, CLU, power and water that the state needs to upgrade. BJP is just trying to divert people's attention from these issues," alleged Anupam Singh, media coordinator AAP Haryana.
But some feel no harm incorporating Gita in school curriculum.
"We already teach values from all the scriptures and there is nothing non-secular in learning from the Gita that teaches values from thousands of years of culture and experience", said Colonel Kr Pratap Singh (retired), president, Haryana Progressive Schools Conference, Gurgaon.