The Gujarat Government’s announcement that the teachings of Bhagwad Geeta as well as English language will be taught in the primary schools of the State may raise the hackles of liberal society, but there are chinks in the State’s armour itself. Who will teach the Geeta and whose interpretation?
Vibes of India reached out to educationists and experts who pointed out that when there is a paucity of teachers even for the general subjects in Gujarat, the government will need to search for teachers who have read and studied the Geeta.
Academician and economist Hemant Shah asked why only Geeta and not other Hindu religious texts will be taught, but raised a more immediate question: “There are 37,000 government schools and you will need as many teachers to teach Geeta. Do we have such and so many teachers who have read the Geeta, leaving alone teaching it? It is not easy to read and interpret the Geeta.”
He went on, “I am confident that hardly a handful of the 182 sitting MLAs in Gujarat have read the Bhagwad Geeta. It is difficult to read, understand and digest the teachings of Geeta, forget about implementing them.”
Shah said this was one key aspect, “another is why not teach Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Bible or the Quran. Geeta is not the only scripture on Hindu religion, there are others too.”
Raising a more pertinent question, economics professor Kartikeya Bhatt pointed out, “Mahatma Gandhi has explained the Geeta and so has Vivekananda, Pandurang Shastri and Gyaneshwar. What will the teacher teach? There is a shortage of 1.4 lakh teachers and if the government fills up these posts, it will be able to take up new subjects.”
He says, “Geeta should be taught to every Hindu so that he knows that even if one’s father or relative is in the wrong and corrupt, he can be beaten up. That is the true religion of duty that Krishna taught Arjuna. In India, the question is not about Hindu or Muslim, but about true knowledge. So the key question is who will teach the Geeta and even the English language. Do we have teachers?”
Bhatt says it is important that the government appoints qualified and studied teachers for these subjects.
Despite repeated attempts, Vibes of India could not contact Education Minister and State Government spokesman Jitubhai Vaghani, but Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Vinod Rao that this is part of the new education policy with the concept of overall Indian knowledge building.
Rao said, “There is a concept of teaching the Indian knowledge system under the new education policy and teachings of Geeta are a part of it. It is very possible that other scriptures and books are related to the Indian knowledge system which will also be taught. All teachings related to Indian culture are likely to be included in a phased manner. We (as bureaucrats) are only implementing the policies of the government of the day.”
Education Minister Jitubhai Vaghani had announced in the State Assembly on Thursday that Bhagwad Geeta would be a part of school syllabus for classes 6 to 12 beginning academic year 2022-23.