‘Engineering qualities’ of Ram to be part of Madhya Pradesh syllabus
Students of first-year graduation courses in Madhya Pradesh colleges will have epics like the Mahabharata, Ramcharitmanas, besides yoga and meditation as part of their new syllabus, which has been introduced as per the New Education Policy, 2020.
According to the new curriculum, to come into effect from this academic session, ‘Applied philosophy of Shri Ramcharitmanas’ has been introduced as an optional subject in art stream. In the foundation course of English, preface to Mahabharata by C Rajagopalchari will be taught to first-year students. Besides English and Hindi, yoga and meditation have also been introduced as the third foundation course, which includes ‘Om Dhyan’ and reciting of mantras as part of syllabus, officials from the state education department said.
Chapters of the ‘Applied philosophy of Shri Ramcharitmanas’ subject will include topics such as ‘spirituality and religion in root sources of Indian culture’; ‘four ages in Vedas, Upanishads and Purans’; ‘difference between Ramayana and Shri Ramcharitmans’; and ‘incarnation of divine existence’.
According to the revised syllabus, the subject will also teach about personality development and strong character and include topics like ‘capacity to bear divine qualities and sign of higher personality’; and ‘highest qualities of human personality including Shri Ram’s obedience towards his father and extreme devotion’.
Students will also be taught about the ‘engineering qualities’ of Lord Ram through a topic called the ‘construction of the Ram Setu bridge as a unique example of engineering by Lord Ram’.
Apart from Ramcharitmanas, there are 24 optional subjects, including those on Urdu songs in Madhya Pradesh and about Urdu language.
Madhya Pradesh higher education minister Mohan Yadav said these subjects and topics have been included to teach students about “values of life” and to “develop their personality”.
“We learn a lot from Ramcharitmanas and Mahabharata. The students will bring inspiration from it to live a life with dignity and values. Now, we just don’t want to educate the students but we want to develop them as great human beings,” Yadav said.
Several experts and educationists, however, said instead of introducing or giving preference to characters and books of one religion, the higher education department should include all religions in the curriculum to have more informed students.
“It is nothing but an attempt to show the supremacy of a particular religion. They shouldn’t mix education with religion. If they want to teach about religion and religious characters, they should teach about every religion to clear the misconception about any religion,” said Narendra Dhakad, former vice-chancellor DAV Indore.
Opposition parties also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government for imposing their ideology in the syllabus.
“We don’t have any problem with the teaching of Mahabharata, Geeta and Ramcharitmans, but they should also include Bible, Quran and Guru Granth Sahib in the syllabus to develop communal harmony among students. But they won’t do so, because it doesn’t suit their ideology,” said PC Sharma, Congress legislator.
After remaining shut for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, universities and colleges in Madhya Pradesh will reopen with 50% attendance from September 15, an official said on Saturday. The state has at least 1,400 colleges and 56 universities with nearly 1.35 million students, of which 200,000 are freshers, the official added.
This is not the first time when mythology has been included as part of curriculum. The state government in 2011 made an announcement to teach Geeta to school students, but after facing opposition from various corners, the decision was withdrawn.