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Why Saffronisation Of Education Will Always Remain Incomplete (Hint: Kamasutra)

By Faria Athar:

Ancient Indian texts
Ancient Indian texts

Since India elected the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as its new government in 2014, there has been an incredible amount of discussion surrounding the ‘Saffronization of Education’.

Critics believe that saffronizing education is an attempt to communalize history, to promote the Aryans, ‘predecessors of modern Hinduism’, and reduce Muslims and the other ‘dreadful minorities’ to invaders or converts. Muslim rulers like the Mughals will either be eliminated from textbooks or painted as barbaric philistines who plundered ‘the land of Hindus’ and destroyed its sanctity.

Proponents argue that with the saffronization of education, students will learn of the glory of India. The curriculum which aims to be heavily influenced by the Vedas, Upanishads and other texts that the Sangh Parivar claims to be worthy of being called ‘ancient Indian Literature’, will (hopefully) guide students into devout patriotism and love for the country. Love that often flows boundless as acts of compassion, love that roars at Indo-Pak matches and glows with pride every time a Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai make it big, is now being coerced as narrations of half-told, half-true histories.

To be fair, ancient India has also produced books like the Kamasutra, a super comprehensive volume on the several ways of enjoying carnal pleasure, and the highly casteist Manusmriti. But don’t worry, your kids probably won’t learn them because they do not advance the ‘pure’ and ‘perfect’ picture of India’s past the Government wants them to learn.

Let’s focus then on what may be taught instead – the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Vedas. Most of these books mirror natural life. Their protagonists are kings and brothers, wives and sisters, divinely courageous but in most cases, very human. Deities who took human form, married and bred like humans, ate and dressed, waged war with passions ignited by jealousy, and celebrated victories.

However, with the changing centuries, convolutions between the east and the west, and in an attempt to secure our religion and culture we formed rules based on our understanding of holy and un-holy, accepted and profane. Perhaps we even made a few rules far more stringent than the gods had intended to them be.

The ‘Ancients’ have been codified. We sing of Sita’s coyness and her loyalty to her husband, of Radha and Krishna and their jealous, raw and eternal love story. However, would Krishna have been able to woo Radha on the streets of Pune today? Nope, especially not on the fourteenth of a certain imperfect month. They’d be forced to get married instead. Oh, but Radha and Krishna never married! Yes, they didn’t. What a perfect way to ruin an epic.

In this confused amalgam of the East and West, we have adopted some peripheral ideas of the ‘Angrez’ land and compromised many of our own in it. India was officially partitioned in 1947 but the country had started dividing much before. Hindus were different from Muslims and Christians; Men were separate from Women, and anything and anybody in-between was a digression. Men embodied courage, strength and power which was measured according to muscles, women were petite and pretty, while Hijras, India’s ‘notorious’ third gender, were criminalised. The Criminal Tribes Act stated that men (or Eunuchs) who wore and dressed like women could be arrested and imprisoned without a warrant. This particular law was repealed in Independent India, but another law, the Offences Against Persons Act of 1861, transformed into Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that now serves to criminalise homosexuality.

Old habits die hard, old ideas die hard, and old laws that have been ingrained into our society too will die hard. Fast forward to 2016, Men are still hyper-masculine, ‘nazuk‘ women are another category, and homosexuals are ‘chi chi‘. However times are changing and for this purpose, it’s fitting for us to, like our leaders, look back for answers in ‘Ancient Indian Literature’.

It is this ancient literature that taught us it is okay for men to cry (given that Ram cried at Sita’s abduction); that homosexuality is divine (given that Lord Ayyappa was the son of Shiva and Vishnu) and that gender is fluid and alterable (Mahabharata’s Shikhandi – the warrior who was born female but later became male).

If we are compelled to study these texts at school, they must be taught in their entirety, including all instances of non-conformism, so we can reason for ourselves and be a bit more considerate of our country folk.

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  1. KK Bose

    On Wed, May 25, 2016 at 12:07 PM, KK Bose wrote:
    Dear Bharat Somal ji and Others,

    I am sad to read such news of killing people by people. Why don’t our people realize the root cause of all these atrocities? The caste system based untouchability slavery because of which people run away to other religions and then get back with revenge.

    What is the difference between a Kashmiri Pandit and an Indian SC, ST, OBC, Dalit or MahaDalit? Tell me. Everyday in one place or other, Indians are being raped and tortured in the name of caste, is it not? Why none of you are making any noise? Are they not human beings?

    If a person from the same family goes to another faith, say, a Bharatvasi became Buddhist before 2500 years, has he ceased to be our predecessor? Even if a person does not believe in God, will he cease to be our brother?
    Why Buddhism originated in India? Because of the slavery and unbearable untouchability imposed on to the population by few people in power, simple as that. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam all came into existence for almost the same reason, cruel monstrous acts of few human beings against others. Look at the way Jesus Christ was ill treated and crucified by those people in power at that time. Much more worse cruel acts such as pouring molten lead into the ears, cutting off tongues and limbs etc. of live human beings were committed in our country by our own predecessors. Can any one of you say such cruel criminal monstrous acts are not committed today in India in the name of caste system?

    Why Dr. B.R. Ambedkar with a larger number of Bharatvasis converted to Buddhism in 1956? Simply because they were treated untouchables and harassed and ill-treated in their own birth country. Why?

    I have stated very clearly to our population and to the world that all these atrocities and killing will come to an end once we the Bharatvais admit our past mistakes and correct ourselves. I have also stated that once appropriate correction is made in Hinduism, even those left us will come back voluntarily. Because the root of humanity is in our Sanathana Dharma. Bring it back.

    An eye for an eye is the jungle law, fit only for animals, not for manav, maushya. This jungle law has been in practice ever since Vaman avatar, as per the history. All the aggressors thereafter took maximum advantage of this jungle law, British being the last of the aggressors under whose rule ‘caste’ replaced ‘varna’ and thus the caste system (animal system) was introduced in India and they left. Because the slaves under the slavery, and the slaves under the chathur varna system were human beings. But in the caste system, the caste beings are not considered as ‘human’, but animals and that is what the meaning of caste is.

    The Indian Penal Code (1860) and several other laws formed and introduced in the British India that are still in operation are meant to rule animals, not human beings, as under the British rule there were no human beings in India other than the British, hence the sign boards, “Dogs and Indians not allowed”. All the Indians were treated equal to dogs, or to say, animals, because the British understood that the Indians accepted ‘caste’ and ‘caste system’ which the Europeans used among animals.

    Come on my dear brothers, ERADICATE CASTE SYSTEM and become HUMAN BEINGS.

    Best regards,
    KK Bose.

    2016-05-24 23:25 GMT+04:00 Bharat Somal :

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