Saffronisation of Books

In the midst of the sex education controversy a lot of things are being said against the policies of our current HRD minister Mr. Arjun Singh. But what is funny to see, are the remarks which are coming against our former HRD minister Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi. One such remark which I still remember, published in Hindustan Times by Mr. Vir Sanghvi, said that, if the country can brave the tenure of Mr. Joshi as the HRD minister then it can face anything. On reading this my memory immediately took me back to my history class in 10th standard where my teacher was talking something about the ‘Saffronisation of books’. The controversy back then was about history books being rewritten during the NDA rule and the content was communal in nature, as accused by our esteemed opposition.

Times changed UPA came to power, withdrew all the objectionable content and study material and once again made our curriculum totally ‘secular’ in nature.

Back in the 1830s British introduced a new education system in India to fill in their administrative posts in the country during the time of raj. The responsibility of designing this education structure and a curriculum fell on the shoulders of Mr. Macaulay and he completed the job with utmost precision. The motive and intentions of Macaulay was clear, to create a class of people who are Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, opinion, morals and intellect. The extent to which his policy was effective can be judged by the fact, that majority of the educated class was totally aloof from the first war of independence in the year 1857 only.

Gandhiji once said “If I had the powers of a despot, I would today stop the tuition of our boys and girls through a foreign medium and require all the teachers and professors on pain of dismissal to introduce the change forthwith. I would not wait for the preparation of textbooks. They will follow the change. It is an evil that needs a summary remedy.” More often than not he criticized the de-Indianised education and at many other instances he again and again emphasized on the fact of having an education system which makes our future generations true Indians, not just by blood or colour but by heart and mind.

No one on the face of this earth can deny the credit which goes to education in making not only successful persons but also good human beings. A well educated person and a well educated society is like a cynosure of everyone’s eye. All in all education is one of the founding stones of every generation and when this founding stone is itself shaky then we can imagine what huge crack it can make in any country’s future.

Our country is a clear cut case of the above scenario. Till date the education system which we are pursuing is the one designed by Macaulay. Moreover not just the pattern but also the curriculum which is being taught, especially in history, is on the same lines of Macaulay. There has been some timely additions and deletions in our curriculum but they were just too little and too late. Besides till date the core essence has not changed and daily one finds proof of the increasing and continuing wrong being done to the millions by this false de-Indianised education.

The grave danger in which it will turn into was very clear to Bapu, even back then as he said “Among the many evils of foreign rule this blighting imposition of a foreign medium upon the youth of the country will be counted by history as one of the greatest”. Many experts feel that problems like brain-drain which we face today is a repercussion of this de-Indianised education system and the only way to fight it is by inculcating a feeling of belongingness among everyone right from the beginning, and the first step in this direction is to give them a true picture of what our country is all about and not let them get just carried away.

I do not know how, why and where Gandhiji’s plea of Indianising the education got lost after we gained independence. But what I do know is that when NDA took some steps in this direction, the very own congress who claims to be a worshipper of Gandhiji and his principals, labeled it as “Saffronisation of Books”. Tomorrow we will be celebrating our 60th independence, let’s try to bring about one change in our country for which father of the nation was more than game.      

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