INDIANIZE EDUCATION

As a lover of Indian culture and spirtuality, I am sometimes appalled at how westernized education is in India. I can only hope that a future Human Ressources Minister will take-up the job to « Indianise, nationalise and spiritualise » education in India. Of course, he or she will be criticized by the secular media and intellectuals who will call it « a hidden Hindu agenda ». So What ?

With 800 millions souls, Hindus constitute the majority of this country. Why should Hindus then be ashamed of a « Hindu » education ? Traditionally and historically, Hinduism has always been the most tolerant of all religions, allowing persecuted minorities from all over the world, whether the Jerusalem Jews, the Parsis from Persia, Christians from Syria, or even Arab merchants, to settle in India over the centuries and practice their religion in peace. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of India’s invaders, be it the Muslims, who ruthlessly tried for ten centuries to stamp out this most peaceful of all religions; or the Christians missionaries, who used every means at their disposal to convert Hindus to the « true » religion (and are still trying today).

But Hinduism, never tried to convert anybody, never sent its armies or missionaries to neighbouring countries, to impose its religion and ways of life – not even by non-violence means, as the Buddhists did all over Asia.

It should also be said that Hinduism is much more than a religion, IT’S A WAY OF LIFE, a universal spiritual outlook, which has allowed numerous sects, branches, philosophies, to develop within its fold, as long as they were faithful to the central truth of Hinduism : DHARMA. It even recognises the truth and validity of other creeds – and it’s perfectly normal for a Hindu to have pictures of Guru Govind, Christ, Buddha and Krishna in their homes. For are they not both avatars ? And is that not true secularism (and not the opportunistic secularism of India’s politicians, which has divided India along caste and religious lines) ?

Then why should Hindus not be proud of Hinduism ? It has not only shaped the psyches of Hindus, but also of Indian Christians, Jains, Parsis, even Muslims, who are like no other Muslims in the world. And why should Indians be ashamed of their own civilisation whose greatness was foremost Hindu? Why should they refuse to have their children read the Vedas, which constitute one of the great fountains of spiritual wisdom, or the Bhagavad Gita, which contains all the secrets of eternal life ? Or the Ramanaya and the Mahabharata, which teach the great values of human nature : courage, selflessness, spiritual endeavour, love of one’s wife and neighbours…

Are the French ashamed of their Greco-Roman inheritance? Not at all ! On the contrary they even think that civilisation started only with the Greeks. Would you call the Germans or the Italians « nationalists » because they have Christian Democrats Parties? Christianity is the founding stone of Western civilisation and nobody dares deny it. Clinton goes to the mass and swears on the Bible and none finds anything to say. We French are brought-up listening to the values of Homer’s « Iliad », or Corneille’s « Le Cid ». It is true that in France there has been a separation of the State and the Church; but that is because at one time the Church misused its enormous political power and grabbed enormous amounts of lands and gold. But no such thing ever happened India. The much maligned Brahmins never interfered in politics and today they are often a neglected lot.

When they took over India, the British set upon establishing an intermediary race of Indians, whom they could entrust with their work at the middle level echelons and who could one day be convenient instruments to rule by proxy or semi-proxy. The tool to shape these « British clones » was EDUCATION . In the words of Macaulay, the « pope » of British schooling in India: « We must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellects ». Macaulay had very little regard for Hindu culture and education : « all the historical information which can be collected from all the books which have been written in the Sanskrit language, is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgement used at preparatory schools in England ». Or : « Hindus have a literature of small intrinsic value, hardly reconcilable with morality, full of monstrous superstitions »…

It seems today that India’s Marxist and Muslim intelligentsia could not agree more with Macaulay or with Charles Grant (1746-1823), Chairman of the East India Company, who said : “we cannot avoid recognising in the people of Hindustan a race of men lamentably degenerate and base…governed by malevolent and licentious passions…and sunk in misery by their vices”.

For the dream of Macaulay has come true: nowadays, the greatest adversaries of the « Indianised and spiritualised education » of Mr Joshi, are the descendants of these « Brown Shahibs » : the « secular » politicians, the journalists, the top bureaucrats, in fact the whole Westernised cream of India. And what is even more paradoxical, is that most of them are Hindus.

It is they who upon getting independence, have denied India its true identity and borrowed blindly from the British education system, without trying to adapt it to the unique Indian mentality and psychology; and it is they who are refusing to accept « an Indianisation, nationalisation and spirtualisation » of India’s education system, which is totally western-oriented and is churning out machines learning by heart (Indian children must be amongst those having most homework in the world) boring academics which are of little usefulness in life. And what India is getting from this education is a youth which apes the West : they go to Mac Donald’s, thrive on MTV culture, wear the latest Klein jeans and Lacoste T Shirts, and in general are useless, rich parasites, in a country which has so many talented youngsters who live in poverty. They will grow-up like millions of other western clones in the developing world, who wear a tie, read the New York Times and swear by liberalism and secularism to save their countries from doom.

But then, what does makes India unique? Take the proposal of Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, when he was the BJP’s Human Ressources Minister, to make Sanskrit compulsory in school. Great idea ! Sanskrit is the Mother of all languages, so intricate, so subtle, so rich, that no other language can equal it today. And moreover, it could become the unifying language of India, apart from English, which is spoken only by a tiny minority. “Sanskrit ought still to have a future as the language of the learned and it will not be a good day for India when the ancient tongues cease entirely to be written or spoken”, admonished 50 years ago Sri Aurobindo, India’s great Sage and Seer .

A dead language, you say ! Impossible to revive?

But that’s what they argued about Hebrew. And did not the Jewish people, when they got back their land in 1948, revive their “dead” language, so that it is spoken today by ALL Jewish people and has become alive again?…

The same thing ought to be done with Sanskrit, but as Sri Aurobindo points out: “it must get rid of the curse of the heavy pedantic style contracted by it in its decline, with the lumbering impossible compounds and the overweight of hair-splitting erudition”. Let the scholars begin now to revive and modernise the Sanskrit language, it would be a sure sign of the dawning of the Renaissance of India. In a few years it should be taught as the second language in schools throughout the country, with the regional language as the first and English as the third. Then will India again have its own unifying language.

Why should anyone object to Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, She who bestowed so much Grace on India. In 1939, a disciple had said to Sri Aurobindo that: “there are some people who object to the singing of Vande Mataram as a national song; Sri Aurobindo had replied: “in that case Hindus should give up their culture”. But the disciple had continued: “the argument is that the song speaks of Hindu gods, like Durga and that it is offensive to Muslims”. Said Sri Aurobindo: “but it is not a religious song, it is a national song and the Durga spoken of is India as the Mother. Why should not the Muslims accept it? In the Indian concept of nationality, the Hindu view should be naturally there. if it cannot find a place, the Hindus may as well be asked to give-up their culture. The Hindus don’t object to “Allah-Ho-Akbar”.

It is then obvious that Education in India has to be totally revamped. The kind of Westernised education which is standard in India, does have its place, because India wants to be on par with the rest of the world, and Indian youth should be able to deal confidently with the West: do business, talk, and relate to a universal world culture. But nevertheless, the first thing that Indian children should be taught IS THE GREATNESS OF THEIR OWN CULTURE. They should learn to revere the Vedas, they should be taught the genius of the Mahabharata and the Ramanayana; they should be told that in this country everything has been done, that it was an unsurpassed civilisation, when the West was still mumbling its first words, that Indian civilisation reached dizzying heights, which have been since unsurpassed. But overall they should be taught early that India’s greatness is her spirituality her world-wide wisdom. INDIA’S NEW EDUCATION HAS TO BE SPIRITUALISED; IT HAS TO BE AN INNER EDUCATION, WHICH TEACHES TO LOOK AT THINGS FROM THE INNER PRISM, NOT THROUGH THE WESTERN ARTIFICIAL LOOKING GLASS.

India’s Dharma, her eternal quest for truth, should be drilled in the child from an early age. And from this firm base, everything then can be taught -from the most modern forms of mathematics, to the latest scientific technologies.

Finally we can only end by echoing the words of Sri Aurobindo who was India’s most ardent revolutionary and an avatar, who foresaw Humanity’s next stage of evolution : ” Whoever wishes to cut of the nation from its past, is no friend of our national growth. Whoever fails to take advantage of the present, is losing us the battle of life. We must therefore save for India all that she has stored up of knowledge, character and noble thoughts in her immemorial past. We must acquire for her the best knowledge that the West can give her and assimilate it to her own peculiar type of national temperament. We must introduce the best methods of teaching humanity has developed, whether modern or ancient. And all these we must harmonise into a system which will be impregnated with the spirit of self-reliance, so as to build up men and not machines”. (India’s Rebith / Mira Aditi).

FRANCOIS GAUTIER

PS. Those who liked my article can help sponsor the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of (TRUE) Indian History I am building in Pune (see fact-india.com)

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7 responses to “INDIANIZE EDUCATION

  1. I have found the reason why Hindus are so generous in accepting other religions also they are on the forefront when finding faults in their own religious conventions…

    The Divine Lord Krishna emphasize on the “Karma” and his status as charioteer of one’s “Karma”,and secret administrator of the world, Hindus really believes there is always a supreme deity which more than religion itself, of course religion can play role to understand the godhead but when putting spirituality at the central stage..

    On the other end The Divine Lord Shiva who is so generous that one don’t need to follow religious rituals to realize him he is peace giving and most generous godhead form…

    So, Krishna and Shiva are protecting Hindu religion from both the ends of the pole and when time requires Aryan religion rises sole for the sake of the people of the world itself…

  2. Yes, RENAISSANCE didn’t happen in India along with Independence, as it should have. The culprit surely was Nehru and the British who planted him. Remember, he opposed the revival of Somnath Temple, a perfect setting for Hindu Renaissance. And, we continue to suffer till this day. Just shudder to think that the short-sighted (or blind) fellows almost imposed Urdu on us, with a Persian script! Must Thank Dr.Rajendra Prasad for sparing us the trauma. It would have been like having an Italian for Prime Ministership of India.

  3. The reason Indians don’t express pride in their heritage is that Americans, partcularly racial and religious minorities, don’t tolerate “coconutty” behavior. If you say to American entitlement groups that according to the Bhagavad Gita, all human beings are equal in god’s eyes, the people who think Indians are like monkeys get angry and produce TV shows like Dora with monkeys like Boots. Everyone loves Dora in America and she does not tolerate coconuts or the Bhagavad Gita’s idea that all humans are created equal

  4. Awesomely well written and a much needed article for India! The current generation’s exposure to western thinking and concepts have been very high, and naturally makes us turn towards scientific innovations in the west. Maybe future generations will need to focus more on the fusion between western thinking and Indian culture. In fact, there are already many schools trying to inclulcate Hindu culture as a subject in schooling. Schools teach Vedic culture, Yoga, Surya Namaskar, or stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata for atleast an hour per week. The effectiveness and the seriousness towards the inclusion of such subjects on a national level needs to be evaluated by the boards, but it seems to be a much needed change, especially for those draining out of India to complete their “half-begun” western education.

  5. Thank you for the nice article. I would believe that one day Indians would definitely include Sanskrit as one of the languages in the curriculum. It’s a circle. Whatever westerners do, Indians follow that.
    Yesterday – Westerners were eating unhealthy foods. Today, Indians are taking up unhealthy foods like pizza, burger, coke, etc.
    Today – westerners are interested in performing Yoga, vegetarianism, etc. So, Tomorrow, Indians will definitely follow westerners and start Yoga, vegetarianism – which I hope will happen. Otherwise, it will be a shame on the part of Indians who neglect such a divine practice.

  6. Syed Iqbal Simnani

    You make some good points, but sometimes you generalise too much. Your basic point is valid, that Hindus should not be ashamed of being a majority community.

    Of course on the point that India’s civilisation’s greasest strength is a tolerant attitude to other civilisations, you are absolutely right. You are also right that for this tolerance attitude, the world has to mainly thank its Hindu ethos. You are also right that Hindu civilisation be given more credit for it, than it is currently given.

    Even though I am a muslim  and do express concern at the un-resonable stand the left leaning intellectuals take, you sometimes generalise too much. Many western people who are not able to find solace in the modern post-industrial society, you get carried away and regard even non-sensical things in India as things to get ecestatic about. A case in point. Some of the elements of BJP minister Murli Joshi to Indianise education were good, but he also made some non-sense propsals to set up Astrology courses in state sponsored universities. Now I am sure as coming from France , you will appreciate that Astrology is not one of the things which helps France making world class airbus planes and nuclear power plants. Plus Murli Joshi used to consult Astrologers before every Policy decision, as a minster of Human resource development that sounds pathetic. 

    Your atricle seems to imply that the phenomenon of western food and culture habits making inroads to India is because the Indian policy makers are not pro-active enough to promote the orginal Indian hindu culture is not borne by facts. This is a universal phenomenon and has nothing to do with India. Even the so called Islamic cultures which you always write in your articles to be rigid to change, has not be able to lure the effect of western food and clothing. When did you last time visit Indonesia or Oman or see Saudi men who come for holidays to Europe. You will know what I mean. Germany was never an American colony, but still all local Radios play American songs all the time.

    Yes, Macaulay was using trickery to rule India you are right about that. But he was also right, that Indian civilisation did not produce much in the field of scholarship, written history, sceintific discoveries.
    Of course neither did Arabic civilisation except for a brief period when they were see traders and set up big cities. Macauly was confining himself to purely worldly things.

    About Sanskrit: So much of western civilisation is based on Latin. While it is true western scholarly institutions do a mucb better job about Latin, than India does about Sanskrit, but as a mainstream Language it is dead. Isreal and Herbrew was an exception as Jewish kids (like many Muslim kids are encouraged to read Quarn in Arabic), to read hebrew as children. Plus Isreal faced an existential threat in 1948 and later and necessity is the mothet of Invention.  A better solution would be to simplify Sanskrit, syntesise it to Hindi and make Hindi the first or Second Language. 

  7. Dear Syedji,
    There were quite a few points in your reply to discuss. But, the foremost is the most surprising at its complete lack of truth that Indian civilization did not produce much in scholarship, scientific discoveries.

    Right from the vedas, upanishads, bhagavat gitas, epics like ramayanas, mahabharatas, Sankaracharya’s numerous works, Kalidasa’s incomparable creations…..

    Coming to Scientific discoveries – 0 (zero), the very basis of mathematics and which triggered big-bang in the scientific world is from India. Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Nagarjuna, sushruta, kautilya’s economics….
    many were there.

    If you can, please buy “Vedanta Kesari” of December 2012, a monthly journal published by Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.

    Srinivas

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