Karnataka’s Education Minister B.C. Nagesh on Monday announced that the state government is contemplating on commencing the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita in schools and colleges across the state from this academic year onwards.
Nagesh made the remarks while replying to a query during the Assembly session.
“We are contemplating to begin teaching the Bhagavad Gita from this academic year. It will be taught under a moral science subject. The discussion is going on. A committee will be formed and we will take a decision soon,” he said.
The query was raised by BJP MLC M.K. Pranesh. He asked: “The government says there is no proposal to implement teachings of Bhagavad Gita to students in Karnataka. Is the government hesitant to teach Bhagavad Gita? Why has the interest shown by the government earlier while issuing statements evaporated?”
The issue is likely to create controversy with various minority groups and individuals opposing it when the announcement was made earlier by Nagesh had stated that as per the National Education Policy (NEP), on the lines of Gujarat state, the Bhagavad Gita will be introduced in Karnataka after consulting educational experts.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said that it was his government’s stand to include the Bhagavad Gita into the syllabus as a part of moral science subject.
Minister for Large and Medium Industries Murugesh Nirani has stated that Bhagavad Gita has human values and children need to learn about those values.
The government of Gujarat has taken a decision to add Bhagavad Gita in the syllabus and a decision should be taken in Karnataka also to introduce Bhagavad Gita to children, he had said.
However, senior Congress leader and former minister from Mysuru, Tanveer Sait stirred controversy over the weekend by stating that introducing the Bhagavad Gita in the syllabus “is more dangerous than Covid pandemic”.
Such a hateful comment would make one imagine that Tanveer Sait is a hardened Islamist. But no, he is one of the more ‘progressive’ Muslim politicians in India’s secular polity.
Tanveer Sait is a 5-time MLA from Narasimharaja assembly constituency in Mysuru since 2002. Before him, his father and veteran Congress leader Aziz Sait held the same seat six times from 1967 to 1999. Tanveer Sait’s actor-comedian son Danish Sait is married to graphic designer and brand consultant Anya Rangaswami.
In Nov 2019, Tanveer Sait survived a stabbing by Farhan Pasha (20), an active member of radical Islamist organization PFI and its political arm SDPI, over ideological and political differences. The stabbing was masterminded by PFI’s Abid Pasha, a man with 9 murder cases to his name including the murder of RSS worker Raju in Kyatamaranahalli, Udayagiri, Mysuru in 2016.
Incidentally, Abid Pasha’s criminal history shows just how deep the rot is in Indian democracy – politics, law enforcement and judiciary all included. This brutal killer was arrested in August 2016, but managed to come out on bail by Feb 2018 (just months before Congress was defeated in the May 2018 assembly elections). He was again arrested in April 2019, but was out on bail again by June 2019. After masterminding Tanveer Sait’s stabbing, he was again arrested on Nov 20, 2019. But the Karnataka HC again released him on bail in May 2020!
Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy questioned the state government on the proposal and took a potshot that ‘teaching of the Bhagavad Gita won’t fill empty stomachs’.
“The state is facing thousands of problems and the teachings of Bhagavad Gita won’t provide food for people. Emotional matters are gaining importance in the country. The innocents are being misled. There is an end to this trend and we will wait until then,” he said.
Opposition leader Siddaramaiah said: “We believe in Hindu religion and give equal respect to other religions. We do not have any objection to teaching Bhagavad Gita, Bible, Quran to children. But, children should be given quality education.”
In order to placate such offensive anti-Dharma rhetoric from the usual ‘secular’ gang, education minister Nagesh has put forth this argument as per ANI – “Quran is religious book while Gita isn’t, it doesn’t talk about worshipping god or any religious practices. It’s a moral thing & inspires students. Even during the freedom movement, people got inspiration from Gita to fight”.
This is a slippery slope. While Dharma is far broader than just religion and the Gita can indeed help the spiritual advancement of people from all backgrounds, the Gita is undoubtedly a holy book revered by millions of Hindus. It is unfortunate that Hindus have to ‘secularize’ their Dharma in order to fit the norms of the secular state, for something as simple as imparting Dharmic knowledge and values to children.
(With IANS inputs)