The Bangiya Sikhok O Shikha Kormi Sangh, a teachers’ group affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has called for Sanskrit to be made a mandatory subject in all schools from Class VI to Class X. Raising a 27-point list of demands, the group called for an immediate stop to what it claimed was the “infiltration of Arabic words in Bengali language in school education”. The organisation has been submitting deputations to school inspectors in a few districts, and plans to highlight the issues statewide.
The move comes at a time when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already made Bengali a mandatory subject in all schools, including English medium schools, from Class I. “Sanskrit is our culture and tradition. Be it literature or science, Sanskrit works have been known worldwide, from Kalidas to Panini. In West Bengal, the Left deliberately undermined the study of Sanskrit as a language during its rule. Now, the present government is following suit to please a particular community. We want Sanskrit to be made mandatory from Class VI, so that the base of students becomes strong,” said Bamacharan Roy, Birbhum district president of the group.
“The present government has made Bengali mandatory. Then why not Sanskrit?” he added.
“A treasure house of knowledge is hidden in Sanskrit. Everyone should know the language to know our history, culture, science and philosophy. People like Swami Vivekananda have stressed the need to learn Sanskrit. Many historians who write about ancient India do not even know Sanskrit,” said Jishnu Basu, RSS karyavaha (secretary), south Bengal.
“Suddenly introducing Arabic words in textbooks is an insult to Bengal and Bengali language. It is clear that it is a part of an appeasement policy,”
The organisation also has ties to the Akhil Bhaitiya Shaikshik Mahasanga (ABSM), and is scheduled to hold a state-level conference in August. The outfit called for an end to the teaching of what it calls “truncated history of India”, and said a syllabus which promotes nationalism should be brought in. It further said the inclusion of words like “amma” instead of “maa” or “asmani” instead of “akashi” in Bengali language textbooks should be stopped.
“Apart from a deliberate inclusion of Arabic words in Bengali taught in schools, we are also seeing politicisation of education. Ruling party leaders are heading governing bodies of schools and holding other posts. We want this practice to be discontinued,” Roy added.
The group also said that the pass-fail system — wherein the system of allowing students to move on only if their score is above a certain level — should not be abolished till Class VIII. It also said the government should consult with all teachers’ organisations before finalising syllabi.
The list of demands includes:
* Implementation of NCERT’s national education policy
* Smooth progression of online work in schools in remote areas
* Transparency in transfer of teachers
* Giving para-teachers status of full teachers
* Payment of 54% Dearness Allowance for govt school teachers
* Improved pay structure for teachers
* Curbing political and administrative influence in education
* Introducing earn leave (EL) for teachers and non-teaching staff
* Biographies of national ‘heroes’ should be made compulsory
* Inclusion of yoga and pranayama in curriculum