The BJP led NDA under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi has assumed power for the second consecutive term. Earlier under the prime ministership of A.B. Vajpayee, BJP ruled the country for a full term (1999-2004). Whatever may be the political leadership of BJP, the ideological control is always vested with the RSS. The political leadership cannot compromise with the saffron ideology which is popularly propagated as Hindutva.
The saffron ideology targets towards change in minds of the citizens more so in young students. Whenever the political face of RSS, viz. BJP assumes ruling power their concentration would be on education. The main strength of saffron ideology is based on mere faith in Hindu mythologies. The changing environment, when science and technology are getting advanced, the people would not prefer mere faith based ideology. The remedial approach chosen by saffron outfits to overcome this hurdle is giving scientific touch and colour to faith. But science and faith are opposite poles. In science, the established hypothesis, has to be proved through experiments, where as in respect of faith there is no question of experiment, proof etc.
Reckoning this basic difference and as a tactic, the Hindutva forces started to point and project anything connected to faith as science. The saffron ideology claims its root from Vedas. The Vedic knowledge was categorized as various branches as so called science subjects viz. Ayurveda, Yoga, Jyotir Vignam (astrology), Karmakanda (religious rituals), Vedic Mathematics etc.
The process of faith based Vedic knowledge was branded as branches of science. This process was started from the Vajpayee regime silently without giving room for any difference, discussion or debate.
Branding of educational approach was given much attention. When it is Hindutva inculcation, it would create a lot of resistance and opposition. In order to overcome this, the saffronists have branded the educational approach as ‘Indianisation’, ‘Nationalisation’ or ‘Spritualisation’, but in practice all of them are nothing but saffronisation.
Another major thrust given by the BJP rulers was changing the educational text in favour of Hindutva ideology and the consequent propaganda. The Ministry of HRD has got many educational agencies under its control like UGC, (University Grant Commission), NCERT (National Council for Education Research and Training), ICHR (Indian Council of Historical Research), ASI (the Archaeological Survey of India), ICSSR (Indian Council of Social Science Research), the Department of Culture, IGNCA (the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts), IIAS (the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies) etc. Changing the heads of these agencies, and placing a suitable person either saffron ideologue or person who can meticulously implement the ideological wishes of the rulers were systematically carried out without minding the criticisim about it in public domain.
The contemplated curriculum changes were also made possible by replacing personnel within these bodies to further the interests of Hindutva.
It respect of curriculum change, the characters of epics of Aryan literature, which had attributed and patronised the discriminatory interests of Vedic age were glorified and included as the content of the text.
For instance ‘Drona Syndrome’ is one such inclusion that is glorified and taught in the schools run by the RSS viz. Vidya Bharathi. Drona was the puranic symbol, claiming supremacy over others as per varnashra dharma. When Ekalaiva approached Drona to become his student to learn the art of archey, Drona rejected the request stating that Ekalaiva was a ‘Sudra’ and only ‘Shatriyas’ could learn archery. But Ekalaiva learned archery on his own by considering Drona as ‘manaseega (notional) guru’ and excelled in the art. Drona who trained Arjuna in the art, after coming to know the talent of Ekalaiva, wanted to eliminate him to avoid his probable competition with Arjuna. On knowing Ekalaiva had learned the art, by considering himself as guru (actually Drona did not teach the art of archery to Ekalaiva) asked from him to cut his (Ekalaiva) thumb and present to him as gurudakshana. For the performance of art of archery, among the fingers in the hand, thumb is vital and very much required. It thumb is cut, Ekalaiva cannot perform his art successfully and the probability of Ekalaiva becoming competitor to Arjuna would be ruled out Ekalaiva with high respect for his manaseega (notional) guru Drona, obeyed, cut his thumb and offered it as gurudakshana. With this the cunning and deceitful agenda Drona got his scheme accomplished. How can such a puranic character, Drona be glorified and taught to students as value education. This sort of ‘Drona Syndrome’ like glorification are finding their place in the changed curriculum in the text books of Vidya Bharati, the schools run by RSS.
The Vidya Bharati text books were designed to promote bigotry and religious fanaticism in the name of inculcating knowledge of culture in the young generation.
Another strategic approach adopted by the saffronists was establishing Vidya Bharati in different names in different States based on the socio-political situations.
* In New Delhi, they are called Hindu Shiksha Samit;
* In Punjab, they are called Shiksha Vikas Samit (Educational Development Council) and Sarv Hitkari Shiksha Samiti (Education Council for Universal benefit);
* In Jharkhand, they are called Vananchal Shiksha Samti;
* In Kerala, they are called Vyasa Vidya Peetam (in Kallekkadu, near Palakkad). There are now 174 such schools. Of these, 120 are Saraswati Shishu Vidyalayas imparting instruction only up to Class IV. The rest of the schools are called Bharatiya Vidya Niketans, teaching Classes VII to XII. None of these schools is recognized by the State Government, and students are presented for State-level of CBSE examination as private candidates;
* In Tamil Nadu, they are called Tamil Kalvi Kazhagam and Vivekananda Vidyalayas; and
* In Odisha, they are called Saraswati Shishu Mandirs.
These are all the foundation laid down during the BJP regime (1999-2004). During the Modi regime I (2014-2019), the education coming under the fold of Hindutva was reinforced with policy frame work on Education. In the current Modi regime the draft of National Education Policy 2019 has been released as formal frame work to proceed further. The core message of one nation, one culture, one language, one legal code etc and its advocacy has been spelt out in a routine way making the mass for their simple meek.
The educational elites and intellectuals who possess concern for the nation have to realise about the influence of Hindutva in Education. The political parties are much worried about their survival, comforts to their cadres with formal concern on the causes that would affect the people in the longer run.
Better the move of saffronisation in education be arrested enabling the children to undergo education in the real sense that is required for a Secular nation like India!