SMRITI IRANI & INDIANIZING EDUCATION

As a lover of Indian culture and spirituality, I am sometimes appalled at how westernized education is in India. I can only hope that the new Human Resources Minister will take-up the job to « Indianise, nationalise and spiritualise » education in India. Of course, she will be criticized by the secular media and intellectuals who will call it « a hidden Hindu agenda » she has already been attacked anyway, because she formed a committee to study the ancient literary works like the Upanishads and the Vedas and single out appropriate texts emphasizing the Hindu contribution to science, mathematics and philosophy. Reportedly, the officials have been asked to create study materials “encapsulating’’ the glories of the Hindu “golden age’’.

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 Mrs Smriti Irani, 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? Nr Narendra Modi set the right tone when he performed aarthi in Varanasi after becoming PM. The last BJP Human Resources Minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, wanted 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”. Dear Mrs Irani, you have a long and tough task ahead of you. Be ready for the brickbats…

 FRANCOIS GAUTIER

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22 responses to “SMRITI IRANI & INDIANIZING EDUCATION

  1. And karan thaper defends Wendy’s book on Hindus the alternative history!

  2. Even Nehru, having anti Hindu & the Anglo Saxon mindset declared:

    “If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly  it is the Sanskrit language and literature, and all that it contains. This is a magnificent inheritance, and so long as this endures and influences the life of our people, so long the basic genius of India will continue.”

    It would be a tremendous struggle to reverse the indoctrination. At least S. Irani could make a start

  3. Indians have damaged India more than invaders. History is witness of this. No 1 was as mighty cultured & civilized as India was but now we r in bankruptcy in everything because we lost our root.

  4. Well written, but many points could be argued upon!!

  5. about Invasion you say Hindus never sent their armies….but i was reading abt the Cholas that they conquered the far reaches of South East Asia as far as Indonesia by the might of their superior Navy….surely they must have sent armies and if Bali is anything to go by then the Hindu culture was adopted there. Then is it not right to say Hindus have conquered.

  6. Yes , we need 2 change our education system. India should adopt Gurukul system where practical knowledge is imparted than the present system . In school level we need 2 identify the creative talent of a child and give special training in that particular field . This is what our ancient educationalist did . Here now we force the child 2 learn even what he or sshe not interested in and in that process the child loose interest in studying It is v sad 2 see this horrible system enforced in our education system . This iis one of the reason 4 dropouts . Hope some big changes will be done by Smrithiji !

  7. @ A_PANT
    You need to learn the definition of “Invasion”
    “A military action consisting of armed forces of one geopolitical entity entering territory controlled by another such entity generally with the objective of conquering territory or altering the established government”

    India’s journey into south Asia has been very subtle; it is not so much a military invasion but cultural exchange and assimilation
    The navy was used for travel & commerce without armies. Not for military purposes and conquer any land.
    China became Buddhist County- and India did not invade.
    Update your historical specifics and get back .
    I can see why S. Irani has a hard task to improve the Indian education structure

  8. Ashok Sharma

    Parsi,matric,like SMJi a born Chritian but Divine

  9. “For 2000 years, India completely dominated China without sending a single soldier across the border” — a former Chinese Ambassador to the U.S.A.

  10. Dr. N. Singh

    We expect a lot from the HRD minister cos in the last 15 years Bhartiya School education is at the bottom. Private sector has come up given good results in school education but in this sector exploitation is on the top. Educated are most exploited people. Govt school not giving results because of interference from the Govt., and lack of interest in teachers fraternity. They need to motivated sometimes with rewards and sometimes with directions. Accountibilty should be increased. CCE has taken education to the bottom. We need improvement in this.Teachers are doing clerical work most of the tim. We need ministers guidlines on these issues.

  11. Dear Francois,
    This was really good article on Hinduism, Its true hinduism has been never forced on any person even by non-violence means, there has no means to taken to spread it to people who are non-hindus, hinduism is way of life, the religion is “Sanatan”, people following it are said to be “Hindu”. I will not agree that brahmins are been neglacted, they are still very much respected, even they misuse this respect on small scale. people follow them blindly because they are considered to best in showing which path will lead us to true knowledge. They were actully who are cause of some of the social evils unfortunately.
    Hindu’s are libral because, we do not believe in finding happiness, we believe in finding the truth about life, we love out soul, its true love, we do not link ourself to pain and pleasure attached to it. That’s how we admire all religion in the world.

  12. Mr. Francois asks why are so many educated Indians ashamed of Hinduism and the Indian past. Well, the clear cut reason is the collective failure of Ancient Indians to tackle the oppression of the Caste System. Yes, there is magnificence in the Vedas, they are a treasure trove of information but the combined wisdom of Ancient India and all the disparate kingdoms could not stop the Caste System and the brutal Foreign invasions [karmic debts of Caste Oppression ?]. Some say Ancient India has been a 25000 year old civilization but 25000 collective Indian years could not match the innovation, inventions, scientific temper, notation and documentation of a few hundred years of Western Liberal Science. We failed to produce the love of Humanity that molded the minds of the Descartes, Paines, Franklins and Newtons. Our civilization led to treating human beings worse than animals, yet the Secular Humanism in the west produced a Bill of Rights and Freedom for all Man. Humanity must look forward, not fantasize about FAILED SYSTEMS.
    Today, some western policies are failing. Western Financial Systems are murky and inflationary. Smart people will innovate and dump the failures, while taking the good policies ahead. Likewise, it is sufficient if we take the positives of the past ahead: Ayurveda, Yoga, Astrology, Karmic Laws, Literature, Sculpture, Art. So much of this can be taken ahead.
    Imposing Sanskrit? Disaster. Indians have evolved Sanskrit to Hindustani. No need to revert to a defeated system. If God wanted us to stagnate in 25000 BC, He would have created an invisibility shield around the Himalayas.
    Green Revolution, Information Age, Instant Communication, Space Probes, Green Energy etc are gifts of Modern Western Science, nothing from Ancient India comes close. Software Invented in USA helps document our Vedic Books and Yoga Treatises.
    The jeans clad youth may seem unappealing to Francois but these are the youth who protest against crimes committed on women by those who have Ancient “:Khap” Panchayat views. These are the youth who do not practice untouchability. Thank God for Secular Humanism and Western Scientific Thinking. Let us not blindly sink into a past that ultimately brought nothing but pain to the masses. Let bus take the best of both Worlds forward with objectivity and without blind bias that all things Ancient were great.

  13. @Tameem

    Indians (-U) are not ashamed of their past, they just don’t brag.
    All over the world caste system exist- it is called class system.
    British Colonial power, which you admire, did not lift a finger to abolish the cast system. Slavery, which is the creation of the liberal west, is much worse than Caste system.

    West committed genocide to the native population. Slavery persisted in Europe America while developing ‘bills of rights’. There was no bill of rights for the black’s, slaves and the subjects of the Empire. So called Secular liberal minded people of the west justified Empire and slavery.

    Indians were the master philosophers. You may not know, but all the renowned philosophers of the west admit and admire profoundly.
    India was under occupation for nearly 1,000 yrs by Muslims/Britt’s. After independence, India outlawed caste system. The Law can’t force people attitude. Racism banned in the west but still practices openly. A brown man is doing a white man job, beating a dead horse.

    Sanskrit did not evolve into Hindustani. It was bastardise with Arabic Persian language by the barbaric Moguls. Linguistic scholar admits wholeheartedly Sanskrit is the most perfect language of the world. Sanskrit is the best language for computer programming. Why do you object? You have a dense mind suffering from inferiority complex.. Anglo Saxon education must have destroyed your brain, simply parrots what white establishment program in your empty little head

    – Science was flourishing in ancient India long before Europe. Maths, Astronomy, physics, medicine cosmology were at an advanced stage. You should watch discovery channel to update your faculty.
    West produced genocide, slavery, colonialism, not love of humanity. Indian system did not fail, considering all the barbaric invasion & genocide, still persists like a beautiful lotus.

    A decadent spineless Indian, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  14. Dr. Shashibala

    Mr Francois Gautier I congratulate and thank you for writing this article opening up a discussion and would like to add:
    a. Spirituality must be taught as it gives foundation to our roots, we cannot stand if cut from it
    b. Indianization of education is the need of the day as nothing else can save our country from criminality
    c. Envisioned education system will replenish the inner core- the mind to save Indians from overpowering materialism by balancing through spiritual values to channelize the potential of the youth
    d. Science and dharma should be taught together as they stand in harmony not in contradiction; it is a problem for the Christians
    e. Educate Indians so that we feel proud of being Indians, teach us our heritage, sacred texts,
    f. Our contribution to the world and sacrifices of sages and savants has to be brought to light and told to the students
    g. Educate the young to protect our classical heritage in India as well as abroad
    h. We cannot deprive our youth from the value system/dharma envisioned by our fore fathers; we must give samskaras, save Sanskrit and sankriti, for making them better human beings
    i. Science needs to be conditioned by values else it can ruin the world
    j. The question is if Hindu dharma is not taught in India then where can/should it be
    k. Our brain cannot remain empty, give samskaras through education or it will be attracted towards bad habits like drugs; take an example of a school in London
    l. No one in the world can challenge Indian value systems from social, national or even global perspective
    m. Do the so called secularists not need values for life
    n. Sanskrit is not dead, it lives through Yoga, ayurveda, music, rituals, ceremonies…………
    o. Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs are bhumiputras, they have a right to study their dharma
    Details can be sent if required

  15. Yes Mr. Gautier, I agree in Toto of your article. Your solutions are practical and fantastic. But one thing is to be remembered about Indian Hindus. 90 to 95% of them are ‘cowardice and good for nothing’ as Nirad C. Chaudri said. In addition to this they are hypocrites and jealous. They simply ape the west. They do not have their own values etc… This is main reason for their fall.

  16. Indian youth Ape the west ..why? coz our education system hasn,t given anything new to them in terms of education …..lets study our own books like Ramayana ..Bhagwadgita as part of curriculam ….so many good thngs about Gita that we can incorporate in our daily lives….Smriti Irani has been thinking in the right way ….lets support her….

  17. @ Murali Das

    No Indian should give a toss what Nirad choudry said. You must be gullible, stupid Indian to worship him
    Nirad choudry is a well known India basher per excellence. He was an uncle tom, ever- ready to suck white masters…. Rumour has it that he was working for British intelligence in Kolkata, helped to get Sarat C, Bose arrested. Lost his job and British sheltered him in the UK to spread more venom on Indian culture. As per Nirad , Indians are uncivilised, Britt’s are masters, demigod.
    India has NOT failed, but if India is inhabited by people like you, WILL surely fail

  18. Awesome. I hope that Mrs.Irani will take note of this.

  19. Muralidharan K

    Mr. Agni
    I am not adoring or admiring Mr. Nirad C Choudry. But Just quoted what he has said. We the so called modern Indians (read as majority of Hindus) are proving or want to prove what Nirad and Churchill said about Indians. One thing we must all accept is that Muslims and Christians never compromise in their religious matters. Because they have indefatigable faith in their religion, god and leaders That gives them strength, power, unity etc.But we Hindus always compromise with everything whether spiritual or worldly matters. Another trait is questioning each and everything( doubting all.)
    The next thing is Hindus of India are highly divided. They identify themselves with regions, languages etc. The Nehru’s division of India into linguistic states has further weakened Hindus of India. Whereas Islamic people and Christians identify themselves with their Religion.
    Another point is Most of the Hindus are Self – centered (if not selfish) and jealous.
    The important point is we got all this weakness not because of Islam or Chritianity but because of Buddhism and Jainism. It is Buddha,s pacifism weakened Hindus. Buddha by his preachings has sucked the spirit of Hindus and injected all the wastes and poisons. Read the History properly you can find the havoc and atrocities done by Buddhists and Jains on Hindus and on their shrines. It needs one Adhi Shankara to give a death blow to them. They are again reviving in various forms and destroying Hindus and their culture. The Buddhas and Jainas are the real enemy of Hindus. They are highly poisonous and dangerous. So don’t be angry for the words I used. But contemplate deeply you can. I appreciate your devotion for Hindus. Let all unite and work.
    M. D. Das

  20. @ M.D. Das
    Hinduism is the founding father of Buddhism and Jainism, based along similar thoughts & philosophy. As far as history is concerned, there was hardly been any conflict between them.
    Your history book must have been composed by some Sheik Mohamed Khan & printed in Pakistani Madrasas
    Who
    * butchered Hindus because of their faith
    * Destroyed Hindu temples?
    * Destroyed ‘Nalanda’ University ?
    *Raped and enslaved Hindu women?
    * Occupied & misrule India for 800 yrs?
    Why
    20% of Indians are Muslims?
    India is divided and lost land to Muslims?
    India still being terrorised?
    You must be mentally sick or veiled Islamist to blame Buddhist and Jains for Indian
    owes. Buddhism & Jainism are highly developed philosophical system for human kind. Brahmins were unkind to Buddhist for a certain period, but Buddhist never did anything untowardly to Hindus. Buddhism is not a handbook of warfare and terrorism; it was devolved for civilized people of this world.
    Hindus never ending compromise has been interpreted as weakness and damaged Hindus/India’s interest. No country/race /religion can assert that they are united. India is no exception.
    The culture of ‘Om Shanti Om’ which pacifies your mind, originated from Hinduism, resides in Vedas and Upanishad – adopted by Buddhist.
    Gandhi used this for his non violence doctrine and damaged India & Hindus. You are manufacturing an internal conflict where none existed before and also today.
    Lots of false accusations & scaremongering against Buddhist and Jains by you without any relevant facts. You are a misguided, lost mortal need counselling.

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  22. It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this paragraph as well as from our discussion made here.

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