Religious scriptures and epics such as the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana will be taught in government schools in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced on Monday.
Ancient epics are invaluable holy texts and they help in building the moral character of human beings, Mr. Chouhan said at an event organised by Vidya Bharati, the educational wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, in Bhopal.
With the Assembly election scheduled later this year, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is looking to consolidate its traditional Hindu vote bank. Late last year during the Dhanteras festival, it had organised Dhanvantari puja in all medical colleges in the State. The BJP’s main challenger, the Congress, has also been trying to up the ante to woo voters ahead of the election by holding pujas.
“The Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita are invaluable books. These texts have the capacity to make humans moral and complete. We will teach these books in government schools. Why should [lessons on] Lord Ram not be taught?” Mr. Chouhan said on Monday.
The Chief Minister added that those who insult great personalities such as Bhakti poet Tulsidas, who authored the 16th-century epic Ramcharitmanas, won’t be tolerated. He was alluding to recent statements by some leaders of Opposition parties that the text promotes “hatred in society”.
‘Imposition of English’
Mr. Chouhan also underlined the “importance of moral and spiritual education” and highlighted the State government’s initiative to bring out medical and engineering textbooks in Hindi.
Describing English’s monopoly on higher education as a “crime”, he said: “After Independence, the erstwhile rulers ensured that nothing could be done without English. It became the language for pursuing careers and finding pride. The Britishers left, but English was imposed on us. English-medium schools kept coming up in various places.”
At an event in Singrauli on Sunday, the Chief Minister had described the purported imposition of English as a conspiracy of the Congress.
Political observers say the BJP is unlikely to gain an edge through the government’s strategy of giving importance to religious scriptures and education in Hindi, which are in line with the New Education Policy’s aim of instilling pride in India’s ancient knowledge system.“
Voters who can be wooed through such moves already back the BJP,” said Rakesh Dixit, a political commentator based in Bhopal.