No rhyme, no reason in Madhya Pradesh
The opposition in Madhya Pradesh has been remarkably prompt in reacting to the BJP’s fanatical agenda that seeks to reduce children at the alphabet to a virtually captive audience. The Governor has been asked to intervene and it remains for Mr Balram Jakhar to put an end to the nonsense that masquerades as Hindutva made easy under Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s dispensation. Those immortalised English nursery rhymes have been banned from government schools in MP.
Proceeding on the argument that the curricula needs to be Indianised, the tales of Ahalya Bai Holkar of Indore and the folklore of the Gond tribals will now be inflicted on the kids. It is not as if in the earlier scheme Indians were being de-Indianised; indeed, the BJP appears to forget there is a powerful argument to internationalise education in a rapidly shrinking world.
Unless politicians plan to reduce students to their own confused state, there is no justification for the latest move just as there wasn’t for Bengal’s experiment in dropping English at the primary level. The BJP must be acutely aware that its earlier attempt to saffronise history texts was aborted by the UPA dispensation’s detoxification exercise. Hence the official patronage to target unsuspecting minds. The exercise is silly, self-defeating and reflective of a party that appears to be fast losing relevance.
If the objective is to promote Hindutva, the MP government has clearly moved from conclusion to premise. The agenda is based on the assumption that kids can be treated as guinea pigs, recalling last year’s experiment in the schools run by the RSS in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s secular Uttar Pradesh. The footsoldiers of the Sangh Parivar somehow found English more convenient than Sanskrit.
Thus kids were taught that A stands for Arjun, B for Brahma, G for Ganesh and H for Hanuman. No less repugnant was the attempt in Lalu Prasad’s Bihar to strengthen the backward castes at the expense of children. Sheer trash was dished out in a primary school in East Champaran on the pretext of teaching alphabets ~ A for Ansari (a Muslim sub-caste), B for Baitha (washerman), C for Chamar (cobbler), D for Dusadh (a sub-caste) and M for Mehtar (scavenger). The intent is almost criminal. Innocent minds certainly deserve better than this institutionalised sub-literacy in the cow belt that is somehow beyond the brief of the chattering classes in the National Knowledge Commission.