Firstly, the notion of India being a secular state has for long time been applicable only to school text books, and not in fact to the day to day activities in its truest spirit. Further, the idea that a Hindutva fanatic political party is ruling the state of Karnataka, and has incessantly been trying to aggravate the already fragile inter religious solidarity is of anything but grave concern.
BJP in Karnataka seems to have nothing better to work upon, except for churning out the ‘sentiments’ based on Hindutva ideology amongst its people. The recent ‘made snana’ debate, the increasing saffron mutts which have now attached themselves onto the nexus between politicians and corporate mafia trying to influence the opinions of the gullible population of the state by divine order, and now the issue of The Gita in school curriculum.
|Religion in its pure form might not have been harmful, but we are to tackle what it is now and not what it could have been|
The issue of introducing the study of a controversial religious text as a mandatory portion of the curriculum (although it is being claimed to be a pilot project) operates directly at weakening secularism. It isn’t just about The Gita – no single religious text must be enforced on the young minds.
I studied in a Christian school, and the extravagant propaganda of The Bible in fact eased my metamorphosis to take my current stand of an atheist, which might not be the case with all young minds. Likewise, although Hindus might be the majority population in India (even in Karnataka), it does not give them the right to tread on the religiosity of other sections of people – be it Muslims, Christians, or atheists. On the other hand because they are the majority, it hands them the extra responsibility of not hurting other religious and non religious sentiments.
In a TV discussion, one sane head made a valid point of religious education: Either it should be kept entirely away from education, or a comparative study of all major religious philosophies and texts must be conducted in an impartial manner. And I seem to endorse this point wholly. Although even a comparative study of it also might be futile, only to help young minds to look back at all the stupidity that has been perpetrating for centuries in the name of religions.
The specific issue of The Gita being imposed is an open atrocity being committed in the name of religion, for direct political gain. The nature of the content in The Gita – the varna system and the justification of war etc, have been already debated intensely. It is not only a sectarian propaganda, it also gives immense room for all the fanatics or the puritans to perpetrate more atrocities in the form of moral policing and of course more of superstitions, because of their conveniently wrong interpretations.
If it is ethics that the Government is keen on teaching its students, let it strip off the brand of religion, synthesize only the essence from all religions of the world: Living a good and honest life might not require volumes of preaching from people who lived ages before us.
And to adamantly stick on to the antiquity of those preachings is that special absurdity in all religions that makes them redundant, even before the debate has started!
Let there be light!