Days after union HRD Minister Smriti Irani told Rajya Sabha there were no plans to change the framework of the country’s education system, Dina Nath Batra, convener of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti and member of the national executive of Vidya Bharti, the education wing of the RSS, told The Indian Express on Friday that he had met Irani, who had assured him of an overhaul of syllabi.
The Indian Express reported on Friday that Gujarat’s state textbook board had translated eight of Batra’s books into Gujarati, to be distributed free at 42,000 government-run primary and secondary schools. The books contain moral prescriptions like wearing swadeshi and feeding cows on birthdays.
A ninth book, Tejomay Bharat, which propagates “Akhand Bharat” spread over all South Asia, will be distributed along with Batra’s books. Its review committee includes Ruta Parmar and Rekha Chudasama, who are associated with Vidya Bharti.
Batra is the man whose civil suit led to the pulping of American Indologist Wendy Doniger’s celebrated book on Hinduism.
“I met Smriti Irani soon after her swearing-in, and I have been writing to the ministry. The reforms that I have been suggesting are already being incorporated by the new government,” Batra told The Indian Express.
“The process of implementing these reforms have already been initiated by reviewing and revisiting the curriculum and policies of NCERT, NCTE, Open School and Central Board.”
Batra was in the NCERT when Murli Manohar Joshi was HRD minister.
“With the change of government, there will be a change in education policies, the NCERT curriculum, and its working and policies, which are directionless and extensively promote westernisation,” Batra said. “Minister Irani has already said there will be a commission on the lines of the Kothari Commission on education reforms to suggest reforms in education and curriculum,” Batra said over the phone from Delhi.
Replying to a question on whether the government was considering overhauling the framework of the education system or incorporating ancient Indian tradition in the school curriculum, Irani had told Parliament: “The present National Curriculum Framework (NCF-2005) takes care of any new development and concern in the school level education system… Cultural aspects in education are an integral part of school curriculum at all the stages.”
Days later, on July 23, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had, however, indicated a revision of textbooks might be on the cards. Speaking in Rajya Sabha on rising crime in the country, he had there was need to inculcate values in the public to bring about a “perception change”, and that it had been proposed that school textbooks be changed in order to ensure that children were made aware of “human values and life values”.
(With Anubhuti Vishnoi in Delhi)