Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu defended ‘saffronisation’ of education and the promotion of mother tongues while addressing the audience during the inauguration of the South Asian Institute of Peace and Reconciliation at the Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya in Haridwar on Saturday.
“I want us to propagate true and better education in the coming days. All the classes in society should be connected to education and only then democratisation of education can happen. The aim of the New Education Policy is Indianisation of education. Our education system must be Indianised. But the moment you say it, some people start saying that we want to go back,” Naidu said.
“Yes, we want to go back. What is wrong with that? We want to go back to our roots, know the greatness of our culture and heritage, and understand the great amount of treasure in our Vedas, in our books, and in our scriptures. No, they don’t want us to… They want us to suffer from an inferiority complex… They say you are saffronising. What is wrong with saffron? I don’t understand,” he added.
The vice president said that the accommodating nature of education disappeared as foreign rulers looked down upon Indian literature, science, culture, and knowledge. “Because the mode of education was changed to foreign languages, a large section of the society was deprived of education. This gave birth to a new class of elite people. Education, which was the right of every class, got confined to just a few,” Naidu said.
“I always say that our mother tongue, no matter what it is, is like our eyesight. English is like our spectacles. So first promote and propagate the mother tongue. I am not against learning other languages… I am happy that PM Narendra Modi and his government is promoting the mother tongues,” he remarked.
Notably, the statement from Naidu came after the Gujarat government on Thursday announced that it would make English a compulsory subject from Class I, implement a bilingual medium of instruction and introduce the Bhagavad Gita in the curriculum of all state-run schools from Class VI.