Sri Dinanath Batra, the convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, is not a stranger to these pages. Be it campaigning against A.K. Ramanujan’s seminal essay on the Ramayana or, more recently having shot into the limelight for ensuring the pulping of Wendy Doniger's book on Hinduism, or for sending off legal notices to various publishers to desist from publishing things that he considers not quite kosher.
It now turns out that while the Lok Sabha election campaigning was still in full swing, on March 4, Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama released a set of nine books by Shri Batra to be introduced in Gujarat schools as part of the curriculum’s “supplementary literature”.
The Indian Express reported today that the Gujarat government has
issued a circular directing more than 42,000 primary and secondary government schools across the state to make a set of nine books by Batra, translated from Hindi to Gujarati, part of the curriculum’s “supplementary literature”.
The Indian Express report quotes the circular issued by the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB):
“These books on supplementary literature are aimed at imparting quality education. They will be provided free of cost to all government primary and secondary schools, public libraries and will be also available at GSSTB, Gandhinagar, for individuals interested in these books. These are to be incorporated from this academic session.”
The report also quotes Bharat Pandit, Director of Gujarat State School Textbook Board, as saying that the books had been chosen so that “students understand our history and culture”:
“These books, with several references by Dina Nath Batra from our rich history, will help our students develop moral values and that should be considered an integral part of education. The process of distributing these books is in progress. This is the first time we have introduced supplementary books and we hope that students will benefit from them.”
So what is Sri Batra's conception of our history and culture that the Gujarat students would now get edification from? The report helpfully provides quotations in extenso to address some important subjects such as:
How to celebrate birthdays:
“Birthdays should be celebrated by shunning the western culture of blowing candles. Instead, we should follow a purely Indian culture by wearing swadeshi clothes, doing a havan and praying to ishtadev (preferred deity), reciting mantras such as Gayatri mantra, distributing new clothes to the needy, feeding cows, distributing prasad and winding up the day by playing songs produced by Vidya Bharati.”
— Shikhan nu Bhartiyakaran (Indianisation of Education), Chapter on Samajik Chetna (Social Awakening), Page 59:
How to draw a map of India:
“Students, how would you go about drawing a map of India? Do you know that countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma are part of undivided India? These countries are part of Akhand Bharat.”
— Tejomay Bharat (Shining India)
“The current language policy allows for the domination of English language which results in Sanskrit being sidelined. By not learning Sanskrit, students will be deprived of the vast knowledge that our epics have on our culture.”
“The mother tongue should be the first language with 20 per cent aside for Sanskrit, Hindi should be the second language…and Sanskrit or any other foreign language should be the third language.”
— Shikshan nu Bhartiyakaran (Indianisation of Education), Chapter on National Unity and Education
These should include August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day, which should be celebrated as “Akhand Bharat Smriti Divas”. Because
“Undivided India is the truth, divided India is a lie. Division of India is unnatural and it can be united again…”
Read the full Indian Express article: Man who got Wendy Doniger pulped is made ‘must reading’ in Gujarat schools