Mumbai: Draft state syllabus includes Bhagavad Gita, Swami Ramdas verses | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Mumbai: Draft state syllabus includes Bhagavad Gita, Swami Ramdas verses

May 25, 2024 10:10 AM IST

The draft proposal suggests that students study the lives of religious personalities and include readings from the Bhagavad Gita and Manache Shlok

Mumbai: Students under the state board school curriculum may soon be required to recite Manache Shlok (verses written by Ramdas Swami) and the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita as part of their language studies.

Students may soon be required to recite Manache Shlok and the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. (FILE PHOTO.)
Students may soon be required to recite Manache Shlok and the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. (FILE PHOTO.)

The state School Curriculum Framework (SCF), announced by the school education department in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP), has invited objections and suggestions from the public. The draft curriculum emphasises the inclusion of Indian Knowledge System (IKS).

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Reacting to the draft, NCP founder Sharad Pawar said, “I read about Manusmriti being in the revised syllabus. This shows the mentality of those in the government. Scholars from the education field should take a stand against this. If not, then there are several organizations that won’t keep quiet.”

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“They are trying to put their thoughts in young minds. I will speak to you as soon as the draft lands on my hands,” he added. Nana Patole, Maharashtra Congress president, said his party will never tolerate Manusmriti in the syllabus, adding that further steps will be taken after checking everything.

The draft proposal suggests that students study the lives of religious personalities, such as sages, and include readings from the Bhagavad Gita and Manache Shlok. Scholars have objected to the inclusion of a verse from the Manusmriti for value studies, raising concerns about its appropriateness.

According to the draft, students will explore contributions from Indian scholars in mathematics, such as Bhaskaracharya and Aryabhatta. They will also learn about yoga and medical sciences pioneered by Charak, Sushrut, and Vagbhata.

“There is no moral reason for the inclusion of these verses. Looks like it’s been done because policy makers just got the idea which is baseless. The department should call off this draft and issue a new draft,” said Vasant Kalpande, former director of school education department. “The draft policy doesn’t have a single word on the education of Indian constitutional rights and the duties of the citizens.”

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Criticising the draft policy, educationist Kishore Darak said, “Inclusion of IKS in education is unacceptable. It raises an important question - what constitutes IK? Whose knowledge, whose tradition is ‘Indian’? Can it include mythological characters from Hindu brahminical traditions at the cost of historical facts from the past of other social groups? Prescribing Manache Shlok or Bhagavad Gita for ‘learning by heart’ is preposterous. It chooses rote learning over critical thinking. Such a prescription is as good as divorcing values enshrined in the Constitution. No state has the right to do that.”

Confusion over language

Meanwhile, while teaching of Marathi in non-Marathi medium schools has been made compulsory, the plan lacks clear provisions. There is confusion regarding language options in schools of different mediums, including English, Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Tamil. The plan does not specify whether Marathi should be the first language or the medium of instruction in these schools, said educationists.

(With inputs from Faisal Malik)

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