Questions on Kautilya’s GST, Manu’s globalisation part of BHU syllabus
The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has said questions about the goods and services tax (GST) as part ancient Indian political-philosopher Kautilya’s treatise Arthashastra and that Manu, the legendary author of a Sanskrit law code, was the first to think of globalisation were part of the curriculum taught at the institutionindia Updated: Dec 11, 2017 12:35 IST
The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has said questions about the goods and services tax (GST) as part ancient Indian political-philosopher Kautilya’s treatise Arthashastra and that Manu, the legendary author of a Sanskrit law code, was the first to think of globalisation were part of the curriculum taught at the institution.
Several postgraduate students of political science at the university were also asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities missions in their semester exam on “social and political thought of ancient and medieval India” last week.
The questions triggered a debate as critics alleged that they were a part of a drive by Hindu hardliners to promote ancient philosophies in the contemporary context.
“Professors are experts of their subjects. As far as the GST is concerned, professors in few departments have started teaching the new tax regime from this session. As far as I know, other topics around which questions were framed would be part of the curriculum. Professors of their respective subjects are experts, they can say it better,” the BHU’s spokesperson Rajesh Kumar Singh said.
◼ "Write an essay on nature of GST (Goods and Services Tax) in Kautilya Arthashashtra and Manu is the first Indian thinker of globalisation. Discuss it."
◼ Write an essay on Bharatiya Janata Party.
◼ What is AAP?
◼ What is the meaning of smart city?
◼ Is urban government a failure in implementing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Varanasi? Give a critical evaluation of it. 10 marks.
◼ Where is Taj Mahal?
◼ Discuss about triple talaq and halala as social evils in Islam.
Professor Tabir Kalam, who teaches history at the university, said the Quran and Hadith were part of the syllabus of medieval Indian historiography when asked why second-year students were asked about Islam’s most holy text and the Taj Mahal’s location, normally taught at the primary level.
“In this paper, we teach students about the influence of Arabic and Persian historiography on medieval Indian historiography. Main sources of Arab historiography are the Quran and Hadith,” Kalam said.
“Hadith is the best example of history writing because when the scholars started the compilation of Hadith, they enquired and scrutinised the content and sources and the person responsible for bringing the information to the compilers. And then the Hadith was considered reliable. In history, we also do the same thing,” he added.
The BHU also asked history students about Alauddin Khilji, Rani Padmavati and jauhar -- a tradition followed by women who jumped into the fire collectively to avoid being captured by invading rulers.
Rajiv Srivastava, who teaches society, culture and religion in medieval India, described the questions as “very logical”.
“Those raising questions over the question paper have no idea about the syllabus. The Jauhar tradition, Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji were also part of the syllabus. A question was framed on the Taj Mahal as its architecture was great and each student should know about it,” Srivastava said.
The question on the Taj Mahal was an objective-type one and carried two marks, Srivastava said. He clarified that he did not set the paper but taught these subjects.
Political science professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra said “there is nothing intentional” about the essay on the ruling BJP.
“A short-answer question about the AAP is also there in the paper,” he said.
Mishra also defended the question on Kautilya’s Arthashastra in the context of modern-day GST and Manu’s concept of globalisation saying these were part of the curriculum. He said Arthashastra, a Sanskrit treatise on political diplomacy, economy and military strategy, talks of a single-tax system, including 13 slabs.
The BHU is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi.