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The NCERT's latest curriculum framework
By MH Lakdawala, Mumbai

THE history of modern education is replete with instances of organized attempts to use the school as an instrument of ideological propaganda. Regimes committed to hard ideologies showed a keener interest in education than others. The Fascists, for example, made education synonymous with absolute loyalty to their cultural ideal. Their approach and methods seem obsolete today, but the possibility of education being used for indoctrination rather than for promoting the capacity to think and judge for one remains alive.If we go by the NCERT's latest National Curriculum Framework, a massive effort to ideologize education is round the corner. The name under which this game will be played is `value education' - an attractive label which will delude many into believing that at last, something is being done to ensure children's moral development. To reinforce this deception, the new document uses terms like `national identity', `indigenous tradition' and India’s contribution to world civilization'.

Wholesale trivialization of knowledge has been underway for some time, both at school and in the learning that occurs at home through the media and other sources. The changes were set in motion in November 1999, when NCERT drafted a curriculum framework and sent it out to education boards across the country.

In its all three terms at the center Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has kept home and education ministries under its belt. Moreover hardliners from the party have been appointed as the minister for the two crucial portfolios. BJP is very clear in its agenda. With their own hard-liner home minister it's become very convenient for the party cadre to raise the communal temperature and vitiate the atmosphere to encash at the polls.

Teesta Setalvad, Editor of Communalism Combat opines that the need for postulating a Hindu community became a requirement for political mobilization for the BJP, when representation by religious community became a key to power and where such representation gave access to economic resources. “A Hindu community with a common identity would be politically powerful. Since it was easy to recognize other communities on the basis of religion, such as Muslims and Christians, an effort is made to consolidate a parallel Hindu community”.she said.

This involved continuous hammering through various routes. School syllabus is the easiest and most effective method to implement this. The strategy is to place their own people in slew of academic and administrative posts. Same is the case with the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) who has prepared the new school education curriculum obviously under the influence of the center. To implement its agenda BJP has always distorted facts. RSS with its own agenda of hate, fictionizes history. Our history terms Aryans as indigenous and Mughals as invaders. The biased story of Shivaji and Afzal khan corrupts our innocent students minds. .Sangh Parivar has successfully corrupted the mind of middle class, as it has become more communal with its latest literacy campaign, The BJP agenda is to reach upto the other sections of the society through communal route. Although education is in the concurrent list slew of non-formal education programmes and institutions are run by the center. Hence it's very convenient for the BJP to change the syllabus, which suit their plans, distort history, and project minorities in poor light. “The plan of BJP is extremely dangerous. We find a parallel in Hitler. Even he had also spoken in the same language of Aryan superiority and German Nationalism and pride, Said Teesta. “ Religion should not be mixed with politics, religion should be about reaching beyond ego for the divine. But once religion becomes linked to nationalism, then you have what I call idolatry, it gets converted to fascism. Fascist forces take over The current attempt of the BJP is equivalent to violence of the mind. The policy is projecting one section at the cost of the others.”

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, (Total literacy campaign) is a well thought out plan to implement Sangh Parivar agenda through the education route. BJP agenda is to create the idea of a single Hindu community. Religions indigenous to India, which questioned brahmanical into Hinduism and their separateness, is either denied or ignored.

No doubt the documents speak of teaching the basics of all the religion and inculcate the culture of diversity. But the fact is that only one religion and culture would get the prominent place neglecting the remaining. This would suit the saffron brigade and help them in saffronization of education.This is obvious from the recent statement of India's Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi. In one of his speech recently, while addressing the Sri Sathya Sai institute of Higher Learning Joshi had said"There is an awakening across the country on the importance of Sanskrit and we are trying to create facilities for large scale learning of this language," Stating that the repository of knowledge from Vedas (ancient Indian religious texts) to present time was in Sanskrit, he advocated that Sanskrit should be compulsorily studied in all institutions. Again, plans to instill values like patriotism in schools are all very well; but such values cannot be forced down children’s throats. They will imbibe these values automatically if they feel they are part of a country they can be proud of; and for that we would prefer an emphasis on the value of freedom an essential pillar of any free society. It is high time the like minded organizations and people come forward and expose the hidden agenda of BJP and Sangh Parivar.Otherwise the coming generation would be fed on the hate and suspicion through the route of education.

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