Last night I saw this discussion on NDTV 24X7 lead by Barkha Dutt (for those who don’t know her, she’s a headstrong and one of the very few sensible journalists in Indian media). It was about the statement made by Karnataka’s BJP Education Minister Vishweswara Hegde Kagari that teaching lessons of Gita should be made compulsory in government schools, and that’s not all, he further added that those who oppose it should quit India!!
Now as I have always maintained that BJP is non secular and is not correct for the country, it just supports Hindus and Hindutva, and this incident totally backs my opinion. Being a Hindu myself (well, technically I am) I openly oppose this idea. India is a secular nation with numerous religions and sects then why force upon the young school children the scripts of a Hindu religious book? I mean why would a Parsi, a Sikh, a Christian or a Muslim would forcibly want to be fed with the lessons of Gita?
Secularism is not mixing religion with state (like Pakistan) and more importantly education; and it is totally unconstitutional of Karnataka’s BJP government to back it. Sometimes I feel that BJP should change its name from Bharatiya Janata Party to Bharatiya Hindu Party!
Instead of forcing other religion’s scriptures the students should be taught about the cultures and traditions of minority religions of the country. Take for example, how many of us know the difference between the 2 Eids of Muslims or the story behind it, or how many can tell what is the importance of Navroz? This is because they don’t teach it in schools and this creates misconceptions towards minorities among the public.
The point is that we don’t even know much about the cultures of minorities with whom we are staying in this country on the other hand the saffron brigade is forcing their religion on everyone. Teach the kids to be neutral citizens rather than creating religious drifts between them from such a young age.
I personally believe that Religion is poison, it kills, Yes, religion kills! Check history of any religion, its true since ancient times. If there should be any religion, it should be the foremost religion of humanity which has no boundaries.
And what the heck with telling Non Hindus to quit India? How would BJP feel when other countries with Hindu minorities start behaving like this with Hindus and comment on them to leave their country? Do they want Hindus to come back to India to save themselves? And yes, there are kingdoms like this in the Gulf which can actually take this step if they want. What will BJP do then?
What will BJP lose if they keep Gita for personal choice? Votes with hidden agenda or peaceful living and pleasant neighborhoods?
This is not fair under the religious freedom of the constitution. Aren’t schools meant to be secular? I have studied in a Parsi and a Christian Convent School and no one has ever forced me to read or given me the lessons of Zend Avesta or The Bible. It is just BJP bent on ‘saffronising’ even education in India. We want our government to just govern and not politicize education.
And its not just the government which behaves like this, this inclination towards Hindutva is seen in my university too, every morning they do some Sanskrit prayer for some Hindu deity named Saraswati unlike my Christian school where they had just one short English prayer addressing to ‘God’ with no hints of inclination towards any particular religion, also my university has working days on Eid, Pateti and Good Friday. Well this is an altogether different topic.
So finally, I agree that reading religious books does no harm unless we are open to our surroundings but it should be totally personal choice, but the fact of politicians talking about preaching morality through this means is a big joke. If they really want moral values to prevail in the society then they should begin by teaching Gita lessons to their own corrupt party members and then talk about school children who by the way are far more sane than them!