Haryana shelves Gita plan for Naitik Siksha in schools

Chandigarh: RSS affiliates may have succeeded in compelling the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government in Haryana to rename Gurgaon as Gurugram, but one of its signature projects-introducing Bhagvad Gita in schools of Haryana -seems to have been shelved. Top sources in the state education department confirmed to TOI that the Haryana government would introduce Naitik Siksha or moral education in place of the Gita now. The original plan to introduce the Gita was announced by the state government in December 2014, immediately after coming to power. Apparently the decision to shelve the plan has been taken as part of an effort to have the essence of 'Sarv Dharam Sambhav' or 'equality of all religions' in the syllabus. But academicians and experts have pointed out some technical aspects as well. Duplication was one complex issue that the authorities found difficult to tackle. Some portions of the Gita are already part of the syllabus as chapters on the Mahabharata in class VII. Also, there is a shortage of experts who can decipher the more difficult slokas or couplets for the students. Academicians were also of the view that the Gita may not be acceptable for students of other religions and any resistance to the Hindu scripture might disturb the education system in the state. Moral education will be introduced from the current academic session in classes V to VIII and the textbooks would be distributed soon to the students by the department in the schools. In the next phase, it would be introduced in classes IX to XII. When contacted, state director of school education M L Kaushik said he was on election duty in West Bengal and not in a position to comment on the issue. Additional chief secretary, department of school education, Keshni Anand Arora out rightly refused to comment on the issue. State education minister Ram Bilas Sharma had termed the teachings of the Gita as a supreme source of culture and human values when he had first announced the decision. He had also appointed RSS ideologue Dinanath Batra as adviser to the Khattar government on education. The Gita was proposed to be introduced from the 2015 academic session.


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