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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Congress opposes Defence Officers learning from ancient Hindu texts

Following a recent internal study, the College of Defence Management (CDM) recommended exploring ways of organizing relevant teachings from ancient Bharatiya texts such as Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Bhagavad Gita into the current military training curriculum. They suggested setting up an ‘Indian Culture Study Forum’ and a dedicated faculty to research this possibility, on the lines of those existing in Pakistan and China. 

The Congress party opposed it and tried to use this proposal to create doubt amongst our military thinkers by giving it a communal color. The grand old party said that the military should not be ‘politicized’. KK Mishra, the Congress spokesperson made a bizarre statement “we won the Kargil war with the help of Muslim soldiers.”  This is exactly what rabidly anti-national organizations like the AIMIM and PFI replicate when cornered.

The two texts in question are recognized the world over as shining examples of Bharatiya thought and wisdom. Why are Muslims stereotyped in such a manner by parties like Congress, to make it appear that they cannot learn from pre-Islamic Hindu wisdom?

Our military officers, bureaucracy and diplomats should have been taught our civilizational ethos and Dharmic wisdom right after Independence, to shed the accumulated colonial baggage. We are 74 years late, but better late than never. For how long will we continue to think and act like a colonised, Western outpost, unsure of our own identity? Opposing Arthashastra and Gita in Bharat is akin to someone in China opposing Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” or Confucius’ teachings. 

Located at Secunderabad, CDM is a premier tri-services military training institution catering to all wings of the security forces. Senior officers from the Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force are trained and groomed for higher defense management, here.

The project titled “Attributes of Ancient Indian Culture and Warfare Techniques and its incorporation in present-day strategic thinking and training” was sponsored by the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff. It aimed to explore select ancient Bharatiya texts in the modern context of strategic thinking, leadership, statecraft, military diplomacy and warfare. The government plans to introduce these indigenous works in strategic studies.

The CDM study concentrated on three ancient Bharatiya texts: The Arthashastra, Bhagavad Gita and Thirukkural and called Kautilya’s Arthashashtra a treasure trove. They said that these texts contain lessons for a foot soldier to a general officer in the Armed Forces. It advised a dedicated faculty headed by a Commandant to research these ancient Bharatiya texts and culture.

This faculty would study the ancient texts and draw out relevant lessons from them for the Armed Forces. Those lessons will be incorporated into the training curriculum of military institutions through an institutionalized framework. The study felt the need to set up a roadmap for adopting best practices and thoughts, which are currently relevant.

It further recommended a study be carried out for two years on other ancient treatises such as Nitisara and Mahabharata. Organizing workshops and annual seminars on Bharatiya culture and its lessons for the Armed Forces is also on the agenda.

This move follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision that had sought greater indigenization in procuring military equipment as well as in the doctrines and customs of the Armed Forces. The last few months saw a renewed government push towards both these goals for Bharat’s military. It is also proposed for our defense forces to have new and indigenous military band tunes, erasing some pre-independence era military battle honors, and plans to put more emphasis on our war heroes.

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