The second talk in the series of lectures on the theme: “People, Politics and Ideology” was organized by the Department of Political Science in collaboration with Jamia Discussion Forum by Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Associate Professor, Deshbandhu College, New Dellhi on the topic: “Saffronization of Education,” on March 23, 2015
With the recent change of ‘nizam’ at the Centre and subsequent attempts at rewriting history books, Dr. Sanjeev spoke about the invigorating need to understand the difference between rewriting of history and its fabrication. In a compelling and honest discussion, he emphasized upon education being given a form, not an unbiased one, as a weapon in the hands of ‘right’ people to control minds.
He went on to talk about the new approach of writing history by new regime in the form of 10-year long project “puranantargat itihas” with 100 historians working in order to derive history from the Puranas considered as the main source of history. There is a simultaneous process of cleansing history from the elements influenced by Marx and Macaulay on one hand and Urdu words on the other. Dr. Sanjeev, narrating a satire from Doodhnath Singh’s book Akhari Kalaam, pointed out the alternative truth underlying the process of writing Puranas. He emphasized upon the danger of history falling into the clutches of myth by the process of deriving it from puranas like Mahabharat and Ramayan, which, quoting Wendy Doniger he called: Historicizing the myths.
Tracing back this old agenda of the present regime, Dr. Sanjeev talked about similar efforts made in 2001 by the committee chaired by Mr. Dina Nath Batra taking up the task of removing elements hurting Hindu sentiments from the NCERT books. Discussing Mr. Batra’s book “Bharatiya Shiksha ka Swaroop,” Dr. Sanjeev lamented at the fabrication of knowledge wherein great personalities like Swami Vivekananda and A.P.J Abdul Kalam have been used to either mold a particular image or speak one’s personal views. Use of specific words, said Dr. Sanjeev giving few examples, show the subconscious communal, patriarchal and gender biased nature of Mr. Batra who believes unity can be realized by tying everyone in the common Hindu thread wherein Indian culture is not a composite one, therefore giving representation to each culture is instead an unnatural effort at establishing unity.
He sees an eminent threat in this effort to bring uniformity in the name of unity and saffronization in the name of secularization. The continuing efforts to forge national pride through education and history favorable to present regime with internal proclivities to Hindutva and RSS is discernible in books.
He concluded with a revolutionary note to speak against such jingoistic communal forces and pick up our pens against such attacks on our nation’s dignity.