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/ Education / Perspectives on Education /

BJP’s Assault on Education and Educational Institutions

While an impression is sought to be created that the BJP is holding back its agenda in deference to a large body of opinion in the country being opposed to it, on the ground the BJP has been having a field day in pushing through its programmes. It is concentrating on and going full steam ahead on the cultural – educational front in polarising society along communal lines. There is an attempt to Hinduise the educational system, root out liberal and leftist influences, and to re-write history in order to justify its anti-minority outlook. This is evident not only from the much publicised agenda sought to be implemented at the State Education Ministers’ Conference held in October 98 but also from the massive text book revision undertaken by the Sangh Parivar in keeping with this design.

Much of their agenda is incorporated through moral education and general knowledge texts that concentrate on inculcating a Hindu consciousness and ‘pride in being a Hindu’. In the Government schools in the BJP ruled states and in the 20,000 odd Vidya Bharti schools and the shishu mandirs all over the country, the prescribed syllabus presents Indian culture as Hindu culture, totally denying its pluralistic character and the contribution of the minorities to the creation of the Indian identity. Everything Indian is shown to be of Hindu origin and the minorities are characterised as foreigners owing their first allegiance to political forces outside this country.

In the name of ‘Indianised nationalised and spiritualised’ education there is an attempt to polarise and divide people along religious lines by communalising their consciousness. Through a distortion and concoction of facts there is an effort to reconstruct history and tradition along communal and sectarian lines. In fact it is quite clear what the agenda paper at the Conference meant by the abrogation of the Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution. Uma Bharti, the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resources did not take long to pronounce that the Kashmir problem finds its roots in the teaching pattern in the Madrasas and that there is a need to closely monitor them.

Thanks to these books and the efforts of their ‘dedicated’ teachers lakhs of children grow up with prejudice and hatred towards the minorities, considering them alien, and in total ignorance of our composite and rich cultural heritage. By wanting to make Sanskrit and the Upanishads and Vedas compulsory in schools to the exclusion of other texts they deny not only the secular character of our cultural heritage but also the significance of popular cultural expression and languages in the making of Indian culture.

The homogenised and predominantly Hindu picture of Indian identity these texts present is contrary to facts and to peoples’ historical experience. Inspite of their verbal diatribe against Macaulay, they adopt, lock stock and barrel, the Orientalist Western British Imperialist sponsored theory that sees Eastern societies as unique and incapable of modern development independently. They have also conveniently appropriated the British divide and rule paradigm of Hindus and Muslims as separate civilisational entities that cannot survive together in peace. How much of their ideological ammunition has its source in the most reactionary theories of imperialist domination is a fact that should be talked about much more and be exposed for what it represents. These theories are asserted in the face of over whelming evidence to the contrary

A massive survey project by the Anthropological Survey of India published in the form of a series called People of India proves a number of points which give lie to the lies of the Sangh Parivar. It shows that approximately more than 4000-odd communities inhabit this country and their cultural profile is rooted and shaped by their relationship with their environment their occupational status their language, etc., primarily and that religion falls way down in the construction of their identities. This survey also shows that Hindus and Muslims share more than 95% characteristics of various kinds that are common and that it is shared lives that have given shape the diverse cultural expressions. Among other things the studies also show that nobody today can be characterised as an original inhabitant or a foreigner.

Unmindful of such data and historical truth, the Sangh Parivar is pressing on with its own agenda. There is a move to change the content of school education in general as well and a review of the NCERT syllabus is an integral part of this move.  As most of us would remember there was a concerted assault on the NCERT textbooks by the RSS backed political groups even during the Party government in the immediate aftermath of the Emergency. Among the books sought to be banned and consigned to a fascist type of bonfire were the history textbooks of our most eminent historians like Romila Thapar, RS Sharma and Bipan Chandra because they present a secular view on history. What they did not succeed in doing then they are trying to achieve now under the BJP Government rule. A Review Committee has been formed for the review of syllabus with a chairman whose only claim to fame is his landmark judgment that Hindutva is away of life not religion. The UP State education minister says publicly that by the next session twenty-five textbooks will have to be re-written. The RSS has undertaken to write along communal lines the history of every district, and has a separate Institute known as the Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti, with 400 branches all over the country, for coordinating and giving direction to this effort. One of the key ‘achievements’ of this Samiti is the ’cleansing’ of Christian influence on historical chronology. The kalgana or the ’scientific Hindu way of calculating time’ does away with the BC/AD system and works according to the Hindu calculation of time traced from the Deva Yuga to the present Kala Yuga! Murli Manohar Joshi is already on record that the history and philosophy of foreign lands had prevented universities from becoming centres of learning. It is an indication of what they mean ‘Indianising’ education.

Science is sought to be combined with spirituality, in the name of which obscurantism and chauvinism are freely allowed to masquerade as national pride. Vedic Mathematics was introduced in the UP schools but had to be withdrawn. The recent directives curtailing experiments on animals in laboratories at the initiatives of Maneka Gandhi and sanctioned by the highest authorities in some scientific establishments, if implemented with all its clauses will set back research by decades and make next to impossible almost any experiments.

The implementation of the compulsory Saraswati Vandana and Vande Mataram mandate in the Government schools in the BJP ruled states, the renaming of towns and streets, bhajan mandalis, ‘social service’, festivals, even sporting events, particularly cricket matches between India and Pakistan, are transformed into lessons of popular education outside the formal classroom. ‘Kargil’ has become the latest and most convenient peg to hang their version of history and nationhood on as the elections draw near.

Internet is now being used as a major media of popular education, with special reference to the NRIs from whom they derive major funds, and now increasingly for equipping the middle class with arguments, data, and the intellectual resources to fulfill their leadership role in the communal bandwagon. Land has already been earmarked and according to press reports a few months back, permission has been obtained by the Delhi Government from the relevant authorities, for setting up a Holocaust type of museum on Partition which would reflect the RSS sectarian view of the tragedy. One can imagine the consequences of this along with their programme to ‘liberate monuments. These would in fact result in the reconstruction and manipulation of popular memory to suit their diabolical designs.

All this is reinforced by the capture of the institutions of learning and education with the stated goal of influencing the funding and direction of research and educational policy. The control over committees and autonomous bodies through the strength of the State apparatus has already resulted in the creation of institutional structures designed to give sanction and legitimacy to the changes that they are pushing through and to survive the life of he present BJP Government. They guarantee the continuance of the fascist agenda even if the BJP Government is defeated at the hustings. The battle for the minds of the Indian people is clearly at a critical stage and the sooner the democratic movement in this country faces this reality, the better equipped it will be to face this onslaught on democracy –for clearly this is what it is. The struggle for a secular –third front in the Parliament is only one dimension of this larger struggle for the defense of democracy and peoples’ dignity.

UNDERMINING OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND COMMITTEES

The crucial institutional measures taken by the BJP government during its rule are:

It has filled the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) with historians notorious for their association with the VHP campaign on Ayodhya and without any credibility in the field of history writing. Of the twelve secular and eminent historians who if the established practice had been followed would have remained for a second term. Not a single one of them were permitted to continue. Among them are Prof. Sumit Sarkar and Prof. KN Panikkar. The Member Secretary, TKV Subramaniam, a noted historian, was not allowed to finish his term and now hardly any secular historian remains as a Council member. Of the new faces, three appeared on the VHP committee to argue the case for the RSS stand on Ayodhya temple. Among others, one is an active RSS pracharak, another one is 96 years old. The assault on ICHR is clearly aimed at influencing the direction and funding of historical research towards the Sangh Parivar's communal agenda. In its caretaker capacity and in violation of all norms the BJP government now seeks to appoint a Chairperson from among three nominees selected after they took over, who are known advocates or sympathizers of the Hindutva campaign, two of them having actually been the leading participants on the RSS panel to prove the existence of a Ram mandir on the Babri Masjid site.


The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) has been similarly reconstituted and filled with pro RSS men whose only call to fame is their support to the Sangh Parivar's Hindu Rashtra agenda.

The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Simla has a new chairman and several other members of the same ideological colour, among them Kirit Joshi, member of the Ved Vidya Pratishthan, an RSS outfit and GC Pande, an orthodox Sanskrit scholar.

For the Nehru Museum and Memorial Library, the candidature of eminent historians like Professors Mushir ul Hasan and Madhavan Palat were brushed aside to appoint as Director a person from the Doordarshan expected to be softer to their designs. The institution has big funds apart from a number of Senior Fellowships for research and scholarship, and is an important centre for organising seminars and discussions in social sciences.

The National Museum and other museums are being used by the BJP government to propagate the Sangh Parivar’s view of Indian History and tradition, by renaming galleries, the descriptive placards, or by virtue of choice in selection of items displayed, and various special exhibitions organised and curated for particular occasions.

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication, which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has been given a Chairman for its Advisory/Executive Council a person of RSS affiliations.

The Director of the All India Council for Technical Education has an Advisor with RSS links.

In the areas of Science and technology there is a systematic shift in budgetary allocations to favour branches linked with military and nuclear research and development (R&D), and to the detriment of research and studies in the fields of agriculture, health, medicine, and a general science education.  The two favoured areas in keeping with the ideological predilections of the Sangh Parivar have been declared as benchmarks, which means that scientists from these branches will be part of selection committees for recruitment in the fields of science establishments. Scientists working in these areas have been given special incentives in the form of two increments at all levels and a raise of Rs. 2000/- at the higher level, which have the approval of the prime Minister’s Office. General science education, which has little place in the RSS scheme of an obscurantist and communal agenda for the ‘people’, has been relegated to the back stage.

In its caretaker capacity and in the face of all democratic opinion the BJP government has appointed a new Secretary, Mr Hari Gautam, with Known RSS links and is also making a move to appoint a new Chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The UGC is the primary body for higher education in the country, and it is well known that this government has already undermined its authority and autonomy with regard to decision-making and also completely flouted its recommendations with regard to teachers’ salaries, promotions and working conditions. The UGC is being systematically being used by this Govt. to privatise and commercialise education, to encourage commercial self-financing courses and to curtail state funding in the areas of study considered non-commercial. 

Vice chancellors to various universities in the country have been appointed with the sole criteria of having a sympathiser at the helm of affairs.

In Delhi University, while the BJP was holding the State Government, all democratic norms were flouted and the functioning and role of the statutory bodies such as the Academic Council completely undermined. Governing Bodies of Delhi Administration and other colleges were filled with known sympathisers of no academic achievements or interest in education with a view to ensuring appointment of affiliated persons as Principals for the colleges. Appointments to teaching posts were similarly ensured through this process. These RSS filled Governing bodies were openly used for undermining the autonomy of the University, and giving support to corruption and goondaism on the campus. In flouting and withdrawing many aspects of the agreement arrived at with the teachers last year, the BJP government is devaluing education itself

In Himachal Pradesh all democratic norms and conventions have been thrown to the winds to place in vital positions persons belonging to the RSS/BJP. All the three Universities in the state-a general university in Simla, the university for agriculture at Palampur, for horticulture and forestry at Solan-are now completely under the control of the RSS cadre, from the Vice-Chancellors to the Deans of Faculties and wardens of the hostels. Most of these appointments, including that of the Vice Chancellor of the Horticulture University, have been made by illegally removing the earlier incumbents, much more eminent and competent. Qualifications are no longer the criteria. The School Board has a new chairman in the person of Dr CL Gupta, a long time president of the ABVP, while the chairmanship of the Board of Technical Education has gone to Professor Dhani Ram whose sole claim to fame is his ability to organise RSS shakhas.  In this RSS drive, one of the more coveted positions is that of the chief wardens in universities and colleges, which makes the admissions into them of ABVP activists that much more easier, apart from keeping an eye on the students activities and discriminating against students with leftist associations.

At the Aligarh Muslim University the BJP government, despite widespread protests from the University community, has openly supported the erosion of even nominal democratic rights on the campus by the Vice Chancellor. For a long time the VC tried to block the elections for the Students Union. Later, when a leftist was elected as President, he used his office to brow beat the legitimate expression of students demands and protest, dismissed from his appointment in the University the Secretary of the Employees Union for simply delivering a speech and organising a meeting, and has been continually harassing democratic and leftist teachers on the campus, even suspending them on spurious charges-all of which has found favour with the BJP govt. whose agenda is served by communal rather than democratic avenues for expression in institutions where minorities are in a large number.

 
In Haryana, the Advisory Committee on Education has been similarly recomposed. Its Chairman, Prof. Suraj Bhan, a well-known secular historian and archeologist who has been actively involved in the creation of material for popular reading and has debunked the bogus claims of RSS sponsored theories on archaeology, has been replaced by a vocal Hindutva sympathiser.

A National Elementary Education Mission (NEEM) has been constituted with the aim of implementing and giving legitimacy to the BJP agenda on Education in the ‘mission mode', i.e., on a war footing.

Key personnel in National Institute of Planning (NIEPA) and National Council of Research and Training (NCERT) have been changed, all with a view to bringing about changes through the ‘proper channels’. The selection committee for the appointment of the Director of NIEPA was reconstituted, and thereafter a known sympathiser of the Hindutva lobby was appointed to the post. The appointment is crucial not only in the context of the responsibilities involved but also in view of the fact that more than fifteen posts remained to be filled or made permanent in which the new director would obviously be a determinate.


A 'Review Committee' has been formed for the review of syllabus with a chairman (former Chief Justice of India JS Verma) whose only claim to fame is his 'landmark' judgment that Hindutva is a way of life not religion; hence there is nothing wrong with Hindutva ideology.

Through a directive that makes all schools running for 10 years automatically entitled to affiliation and recognition the BJP govt. has ensured large transfers of state funds to RSS schools in the states of BJP govt., especially if it can be easily shown that govt. schools are not functioning well.

According to newspaper reports the BJP government’s disinvestment of the public sector has resulted in the closure of many schools run by public sector enterprises.

In the field of Adult Education as soon as the BJP government took over an year and a half ago all publications brought out by voluntary organisations have been stopped by simply not releasing the due grants, with a view to replacing the organisations entrusted with this important task. The Govt. prefers to have no publications, rather than those with a pronounced secular character.

Creation of an institutional structure to hand over the entire resources of the state in fields of social welfare, particularly education, for fulfilling a right wing agenda has been launched through the creation and govt. sanction, during its caretaker days, to the National Reconstruction Corps- a body of young people to be paid by the state to do precisely those tasks which have been accomplished through unprecedented voluntarism in the last two decades. Adult Education, lifelong learning schemes, non-formal education and a host of employment generating schemes and training programmes will be put into their hands. It will create a body of paid potential black shirts with a stake in the systematic destruction of secular networks created with diligence and commitment over the last two decades by science groups, literacy activists and lakhs of volunteer-teachers all over the country. They will be the new extra-constitutional authority and muscle men of the RSS at state expense at the grassroots, at the panchayat and district levels.

The Executive Committee of the Council for the Advancement of People’ Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), which channelises the government funding in rural development sector including studies on technology development and alternatives, has been transformed into a political appendage of the Sangh Parivar. The majority of the new nominees to the Executive Committee and the Regional Committees are reportedly persons and voluntary organisations connected to the RSS and the BJP and have no specific expertise in order to fulfill their responsibilities. For example in the north east almost every member of the regional committee is an RSS functionary.  With a notification of March 3 the General Body, half of whose members are NGOs, was filled with active associates and members of the RSS and the celebrated ‘ NGOs’ Swadeshi Jagran Manch and the Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. CAPART has eight national standing committees (NSCs) which sanction and monitor projects and evolve policies.. Since its formation in 1986, CAPART has disbursed Rs 447 crores to 6,370 organisations. All NSCs were dissolved and new ones formed, bypassing the Director General and all the internal structures of CAPART.

THE SAFFRONISATION OF SYLLABI AND SCHOOL TEXT BOOKS

Communal historiography may be quite old in India but the new additions reflect greater contemporary use in dividing society along communal lines. They are also stronger in the language and expressions used. Communal bias is woven into school textbooks with preposterous ‘facts’ in a way that can only have dangerous consequences for the educational standards in this country.

In the name of curriculum reform there is an attempt to rewrite textbooks along communal lines on a scale that will submerge all secular interpretations in school level teaching. A whole generation would grow up with their collective memory of a shared heritage destroyed and with ideas and information that have no basis in reality. A successful implementation of these texts on a widespread scale will mean the triumph of unreason as well as a tremendous and sudden deterioration in the quality of education, where the minimum criteria of correct empirical data and a scientific temper and reason are thrown to the winds. Our children will be little suited to face the real world or the world of scholarship.

In 1996, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) conducted an evaluation of school textbooks in various subjects, including those prescribed in Vidya Bharati schools in the country. It found that many of the Vidya Bharati textbooks were "designed to promote bigotry and religious fanaticism in the name of inculcating knowledge of culture in the young generation."  A lot of very objectionable material was even being utilised for instruction in schools which, "presumably, have been accorded recognition." It reported that there were 6,000 such schools with 12 lakh children on their rolls under the tutelage of 40,000 teachers where these books formed the core of the curriculum.

Today these books already form an integral portion of the curriculum in the 20,000 or more Vidya Bharati schools and Shishu Mandirs. The introduction of these texts into the Government schools in the BJP ruled states has massively increased the number of children who are being made victims of this second rate and poisonous ‘knowledge’. The take over of educational bodies from the highest levels to those determining the syllabi in schools will carry this wave of fascist propaganda into the entire educational process. Coupled with other forms of popular education they could change our entire ways of looking at ourselves, and also propel our political visions along fascist rather than democratic lines.

SAMPLES FROM THE HISTORY TEXTS

In the history texts the old communal interpretation of history reigns supreme. The Aryans are shown as the original inhabitants of India and the builders of Indian civilisation and the coming of Muslims an intrusion that shattered the imagined homogeneity of Indian diaspora. In their imagination it was an attack of proportions that only Macaulay equalled. The ancient period of history, especially the Mauryan and the Gupta period, is painted as ‘Golden’ because the rulers during this time are seen to be Hindus, and the medieval centuries as the advent of darkness, threat to culture, and an attack on Indian civilization. The Moghul kings, especially Aurangzeb, are painted as cruel tyrants without reference to the medieval context in which these rulers acted. As far as these texts are concerned the cultural integration and emergence of new forms of cultural expression as a result of shared life, translations of religious texts, adoption of new dance musical and religious forms, did not exist. Bhakti and growth of national languages and literatures of the regional languages are not seen as linked to the context of this shared life.

This communal and sectarian interpretation of history also extends to the study of the National Movement, where the Muslims are painted as the enemies of the nation and responsible for Partition, and the Hindu communal forces as the greatest patriots and nationalists. The conflict between the Mughals and the Marathas and Rajputs, also feudal powers are given the status of nationalist struggles. Shivaji and Rana Pratap are great national heroes for their opposition to ‘Muslim power’. Similarly, K.S. Hegdewar and M.S. Golwalkar are great heroes in the books used as part of Sanskar Saurabh series where as Nehru does not find a mention. Among the great men of India no Muslim or Communist finds reference, where as the most insignificant of Hindu heroes are extolled in extravagant terms. Those who cannot be ignored by any means are appropriated by misrepresenting them and what they stood for, as, for example, Bhagat Singh. It would appear that during the national movement there was just one definition of nation and nationhood, that of the Sangh Parivar today. The struggle for a secular nation does not exist. In these texts democracy is deliberately confused with majoritarianism, minority rights with communalism, modernity with British rule and oppression, British rule with Christianity, Hinduism with nationalism. The role of the people and popular struggles are also underplayed as unity across religions was quite pronounced in popular struggles and they are not easily open to a sectarian interpretation. Rationality, reason, factual correctness and a democratic perspective are all thrown to the winds in these texts.

Apart from these well known communal interpretations of Indian history there re numerous references, questions, and arguments in favour of the destruction of Babri Masjid, the presentation of the Kar Sevaks of the uninterrupted line of ‘freedom fighters’, of Mulayam Singh Yadav as a ‘mullah’ and murderer of Hindus. Excuses are found to reinforce all these lies not only through history texts but also through questions in the books and in the examinations- in Maths and General Knowledge papers example, questions such as names of people ‘martyred’ during the siege of Babri Masjid and the number of people murdered by the ‘mullah and murderer of Hindus, Mulayam Singh etc.

Religious chauvinism is carried to the extreme in these texts. In the text books distributed in Vidya Bharti schools the map of India is shown as including not only Pakistan and Bangladesh but also the entire region of Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and even parts of Myanmar (“punnya bhoomi Bharat”).

These texts are being used in Shishu Mandirs and Government Schools in BJP controlled states.

Ancient history:

Rama and Krishna took birth here to destroy evil and defend justice, religion and Sarasvati, and god took birth here many times to make this land pure. India is referred to as Sone ki chiriya and jagadguru(p 4 ,Gaurav Gatha (henceforth GG), the textbook for Class 4, Sarasvati Shishu Mandir, written in an extremely emotional and provocative style.)

Our land has always been seen with greedy eyes by the marauders, barbarous invaders and oppressive rulers. This story of invasion and resistance is our 3000-year long Gaurav Gatha. When this proud tradition actually began is difficult to say because no books were written at that time…but we believe that the first man was born in this land (p. 8 GG)

To our ancestors these marauders were like mosquitoes and flies who were crushed (p. 8 GG)

Bacchus and Dionysis, among the earliest invaders, suffered such a defeat that feelings of terror ran in Greece (p. 9, GG) Darius had to face such a defeat that never could Iran raise its eyes towards India (p. 10 GG)

About 2200 years ago India’s trade was spread far and wide; foreign markets were filled with goods made in India. Heaps of gems and jewels and gold and silver filled the treasures People of the entire world used to look to India with greedy eyes (p. 12 GG)

Mahapadma Nanda had so much wealth that if divided among the population, every person would get Rs. 50 lakhs each (p. 13 GG)

Alexander’s army was defeated at the hands of Puru and Alexander himself had to seek forgiveness (p., 15 GG)

Then came Demetrius …the preaching of ahimsa had weakened North India. The Kshatriyas--followers of the Vedic religion were-feeling frustrated…the ruler of Magadha was a Buddhist. So he did not come forward to fight. But then was the country enslaved/ Did the enemy become victorious in the birthplace of Bhagwan Rama? No, no (p. 31, GG)

Pushyamitra destroyed the Greeks. After this the people of Greece could not attack Bharat Later they came only as refugees. As beggars they begged for their lives but never dared to look with proud eyes…the great man who destroyed the Greek power from its very roots was emperor Pushyamitra. India is proud of him even today. Every day we remember his name. (p. 35-37, GG)

Asoka advocated ahimsa. Every kind of violence came to be considered a crime. Even hunting, sacrifices in yajnas and use of arms began to be considered bad. It had a bad effect on the army. Cowardice slowly spread throughout the kingdom. The state bore the burden of providing food to the Buddhist monks. Therefore people began to become monks. Victory through arms began to be viewed as bad, Soldiers guarding the borders became demoralised. (p. 30, GG)

With the finds of bones of horses, their toys and yajna altars, scholars are beginning to believe that the people of the Harappa and Vedic civilisation were the same. (High School Itihaas Bhaag (henceforth HSIBI), p. 43, history textbook for secondary schools, Government of U. P. revised in 1992 to suit the communal interpretations of Indian history. This book seals with the history of India from pre- historic times to 1526.)

Aryan culture is the nucleus of Indian culture, and the Aryans were an indigenous race. " But about the Aryans who were the builders of Bharatiya Sanskriti in Bharat and creators of the Vedas, this view is gaining strength among the scholars in the country that India itself was the original home of the Aryans."(P. 48, HSIB 1.) Archaeological and literary evidence does not support this theory.

Chanakya desired to "see the entire Bharat united into one nation."(P. 77, HSIB 1) empire building is deliberately confused with nationhood.

In a revised textbook three lines have been interpolated which reflect an utter disregard for facts. These lines are"It is worth mentioning that inspite of such a large empire, Asoka had got his edicts engraved only in one script (Brahmi) and one language Pakti-Sanskrit). This symbolises the national unity of the times".

The entire period of Indian history from the death of Harsha till the 12th century has been described as the Rajput kaal (p. 168).

The qualities of ancient traditional self-pride, love of freedom, the feeling of pride towards Indian culture among Rajputs confirm the view that the Rajput race is the descendent of ancient Kshatriya families (p. 170 HSIB 1). That they had their ancestry in certain invaders is dismissed as a conspiracy of western historians.

Indus valley civilisation is referred to as Indus-Sarasvati civilisation to suit the current ideological requirement of the Sangh Parivar that the oldest civilisation and man was in India (most of the Mohenjodaro and Harappa sites now being in Pakistan). pg7, question and answers book titled Bharat Ka Itihas Ainv Sanskriti, Dr. Rajshekhar Vyasmeant for Class 12 students in Rajasthan schools). India is the original home of the Aryans (pg. 82, BKIAS)

With reference to Indian unity, the symbols of Indian culture have been limited to the seven rivers, seven mountain peaks and seven rivers, identified by them as Hindu ( pg. 7, BKIAS)

Indians have always accepted history as a significant branch of knowledge and gave it due significance in the form of the ‘Pancham Veda’ (pg. 3,BKIAS, Dr. Praksh Vyas, book 2)

Medieval History:

The religious factor was the predominant factor in policies and conflicts throughout the medieval period

Muslim rule in India was a foreign rule ( the reference is to the medieval period of Indian history when the rulers were Muslims, although factually even this is incorrect if one takes the entire country into account)

Lakhs of foreigners came during these thousands of years…but they all suffered humiliating defeat….There were some whom we digested…when we were disunited , we failed to recognise who were our own and who were foreigners, then we were not able to digest them. We were not able even those who for some compulsion had separated from us. Mughals, Pathans and Christians are today some of these people." (Itihaas Ga Raha Hai for Class5 in Shishu Mandir schools)

Islam spread in India solely by way of the sword. The Muslims came to India "with the sword in one hand and the Qoran in the other"…"Numberless Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam on the point of the sword. This struggle for freedom became a religious war, Numerous sacrifices were made in the name of religion. We went on winning one battle after another. We did not let the foreign rulers settle down to rule, but we were not able to reconvert the separated brothers to Hinduism."( Itihaas Gaa Raha Hai)

Arabs (barbarians) came to convert people to their religion. Wherever they went, they had a sword in their hand. Their army went like a storm in all the four directions. Any country that came in their way was destroyed, Houses of prayers and universities were destroyed. Libraries were burnt…religious books were destroyed. Mothers and sisters were humiliated. Mercy and justice were unknown to them. (p.s.52-53 GG)

The second phase of the freedom struggle began with the invasion of India by Mahmud of Ghazni (Gaurav Gatha Class 4)

Mohammad Ghori killed lakhs of people, Visvanath Temple and Bhagwan Krishna’s birth place were converted into mosques. In turn he was killed by Prithviraj Chauhan( p.s. 67-68, GG )

Qutb Minar was constructed by Samundragupta, and its original name was Vushnu Sthambha ( p. 73, GG)).

The ‘foreign’ ruler Muhammad bin Tughlak transferred his capital from Delhi to Deogiri in South India out of fear of the Hindu kings (p. 73, GG ).

When Peshava Madhav Rao came to the throne no one could raise his eyes. The English, the French and the Portuguese shivered; they presented gifts in homage in his court with their heads bowed. Delhi’s emperor was his puppet. Moghul power had ended. Nizam and other Muslim states with bowed heads sought his (Peshava’s ) refuge. The entire country was in a sense independent (p. 111 GG)

Due to the circumstances, it (Islam) gradually assumed the form of a military religion ( sainik dharma) and with the force of arms, with a lightening speed it advanced and became an international religion.( p. 184, HSIB 1)

Now the sword of Islam was transferred from the Caliphs to the Turks (p. 189, HSIB 1)

The aim of Mahmud of Ghazni and Mohammed Ghori in coming to India, apart from plunder was the spread of Islam in India (p.s. 190, 195, HSIB1).

Allauddin imposed 50% land revenue on the Hindus. (p. 228 HSIB 1).

Hindus accepted Turkish political supremacy only under compulsion. They retained their identity even while leading the life of insult and humiliation. (p. 260 HSIB 1).

Most of the Sultans adopted a policy of religious intolerance. They committed atrocities against Hindus, demolished idols and temples. Because of this the Hindus had surrendered to the Sultanate but they were always making efforts to destroy the Sultanate ( p.278 HSIB 1 )

The followers of Islam in this country whether they came as traders or as invaders-but with this country they could never establish full cultural harmony. One basic reason for their seperateness was the basic principle of their religion which is monotheism…there was continuous mutual struggle between the two cultures (p. 280, HSIB 1)

The Indian society during the Sultanate period was divided into two main classes--ruling or Muslim classes and ruled or non-Muslims of whom the Hindus were the majority) the majority of the population of the state was Hindu but the Muslim class was patronised by rulers. Hindu was merely the payer of taxes. Inspite of being conquered in the political field, Hindus did not lose courage. To regain their lost independence, they went on raising their voices from time to time. Because of this historians have called it the "period of resistance". (p. 281, p. 283, HSIB 1)

In India the nature of the mussalman state was a religious state (p.282, HSIB 1)

By adopting jauhar vrat, women defended their religion and chastity. (p. 183 HSIB1)

Child marriage, jauhar, sati, purdah, jadu-tona and superstition were all due to the fear of the Muslims (p. 284 HSIB 1)

The Babri Mosque was constructed after destroying a temple, which in turn stood on the exact spot where Rama was born.( High School Itihaas Bhaag 2, p. 146. This book covers the period from invasion of Babur to recent events)

The epithet intolerant is constantly used for Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb

The Qoran was the basis for the state policy of Aurangzeb, and whatever policy was adopted for running the Government was basically for promoting Islam. (HSIB 2, p. 119)

Destruction of temples and schools attached to them and the building of mosques in their place was a general policy with Aurangzeb. (HSIB 2 p. 120)

In the context of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya there are fantastic propositions that Babar destroyed many temples before turning his attention to Ayodhya. (pg. 118, BKIAS II,

 Rajshekhar Vyas)

The chapter on the religious policies of the Mughal rulers is filled with prejudices from the beginning to the end and evokes negative feelings towards the Muslims (BKIAS II, DR Prakash Vyas)

 

Shivaji and Rana Pratap were fighters for national liberation. All the ‘Hindu’ kings who fought for their kingdoms against the Mughals are presented as such.

Modern Indian history:

About 190 pages of the book deal with the history of modern India, of which only 20 pages are devoted to the nationalist movement (HSIB 2), of which 3 pages are devoted to Dr. Hedgewar. Important nationalist leaders are mentioned incidentally in comparison. Quit India movement has ½ page, Jinnah is the villain.

Although there are 60 pages on the entry of the British and establishment of British rule, there is nothing that would promote an understanding of colonialism (HSIB 2)

Peoples’ movements find no place.

The book is full of factual errors, inconsistencies, and chronological lapses.

The Muslims are solely blamed for the partition of India.

The RSS as an organisation is presented as central to the Freedom Movement. Dr. Keshavrao B. Hedgewar is one of the tallest leaders of the freedom struggle. Statements of a large number of national leaders have been quoted in praise of the RSS.

In the section dealing with the movement against the partition of Bengal the name of Hegdewar has been added as a leader of the movement, the other names mentioned being those of Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose, Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal.

In the context of the civil disobedience movement there is no mention of the Lahore Congress or Purna Swaraj.

The Shishu Mandir text book is worse on all these counts, and the RSS and its leaders are said to have removed the evils which hundreds of years of slavery had given…this Sangathan became an object of pride for the country ( p. 86 )

The false Islam of Jinnah and the League, which resulted from the communalism of the Muslims, was the main cause of the Partition (pgs. 346-348, BKIAS II, Rajshekhar Vyas)

Tipu Sultan was a ruthless invader who led a mass conversion of Hindus to Muslims and forced them to eat beef.

The Mappila revolt of 1921 was basically a communal revolt, which resulted in the mass conversion of Hindus.

Similar interpretations and ‘facts’ on all phases of Indian history abound also in the textbooks from school boards in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal during BJP rule. In addition, in the textbooks from Maharashtra, the medieval history of Maharashtra begins and ends with Shivaji. All other historical figures exist only in reference to him. The Vyas Committee for reviewing school textbooks in Rajasthan has found many portions in various books objectionable and has recommended that they be removed. A similar evaluation came also from a workshop organised in Ahmedabad with the Gujarat textbooks in mind.

 

 

POLITICAL SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES, SOCIOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT STUDIES

Apart from history texts, the RSS agenda and its ideological predilections are also being pushed through texts on other social sciences.

 In all the political science texts Indian political thought and nationalism are presented as synonymous with Hinduism (to make the point that the separation of religion and politics is not viable and is contrary to historical experience). There is a very pronounced attempt to prove that the central core of Indian nationalism is the Hindu religion. And it is Hinduism that holds the nation together. The quotations and references from thinkers or nationalist leaders who are Hindu by birth are chosen/ selected with the view of creating this symbiotic relationship. Minorities do not figure in these texts except as disturbers of national unity and in the context of discussion of communalism. All these texts make it a point to underline Jinnah and Muslim league as the major representations of communalism during the freedom movement, and minority organisations and demands as the chief causes of communalism and riots in post independent India. There are pointed references to money coming to the Muslims from Arab countries. The Shahbano case, reservation for Urdu in the Constitution, the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University and the Muslim Personal Law are discussed from a communal standpoint.

 Some samples:

In a textbook for Class XI, titled Political Science - An Introduction and Indian Political Thinkers- a chapter on Deen Dayal Upadhyay has been added. This 1998-99 edition describes him as a person who had deep respect for "ancient and highly sophisticated culture of India", who envisaged an "ideal Dharmarajya" and who was upset that "while designing the Indian Constitution, the natural and national values had been ignored." The 20-page section highlights his belief in "Akhand Bharat" which was all for dissolving the 1947 Partition and cites the occasion in April 1964 when he along with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia conceived of a "Mahasangh" in which India and the partitioned countries (Pakistan and Bangladesh) would be included. The political thinkers discussed have been limited to those who are seen as Hindus and not a single figure belonging to the minorities has been included. Nehru too does not find a place in this text. 

Elsewhere it is said: People of many faiths came to this country to propagate their own faiths but they were forced to bow their heads before our divine culture. The wave of Islam was stalled here, the Christians exercised their full might but they failed to make India Christian, even the communists could not mould the culture of this great country along communist lines. This is because our culture is the most superior culture in the world. (Pg. 250)

In a non-religious state there is always only pain and sorrow (dukh hi dukh). In Ravan’s Lanka there was gold but Ramarajya could not take birth there (pg. 244).

Swamiji (Dayanand Sarasvati) gave to the country the message of a renaissance and became an aggressive propagator of Vedic culture and Hindu revivalism (pg. 101).

The Akali Dal has been characterised as a communal and separatist group committed to the philosophy of the pistol and the bomb, the central basis of whose politics is terrorism and violence. This has been changed in the new edition after the alliance in the Parliament. (Pg. 111-112, Bharatiya Rajnitik Vyavastha (Indian Political Situation) 1995 edition, for Class 12 in Rajasthan).

The Congress and the left are presented as collaborators in communalism in Kerala (pg. 140, BRV)

The Morley –Minto reforms destroyed all possibilities for the erosion of the caste system. They were responsible for bringing out on the field each community against the other. They gave importance to class (sectional?) interests above (general) interests and the minority pushed the majority into a corner. The reforms prevented six crore 20 lakh people from joining the freedom movement (pg. 11, Bharat Main Saimvaidhanik Vikas Aivam Saimvidhan Ke Mooladhar (Constitutional Development in India and the Basic Features of the Constitution), for Class 11, used in Rajasthan and UP)

Representation to certain classes and communities, especially the Muslims, disproportionate to their population and importance, proved to be very dangerous (pg. 12, SVASKM)

State forces have been used for Congress and Communist rallies (pg. 82, SVASKM). (This is said in the context of enumerating the despotic features of the constitution)

Reservation cannot be justified on grounds promoting social equality. Reservation has caused the greatest harm to national unity and integrity (pg. 82-83). (This is in the context of the present constitutional provision for SC/ ST reservation).

Sociology:

The Social studies and sociology texts have been made instruments for the propagation and justification of backward social norms by presenting them as intrinsic to safeguarding /protecting religion and tradition from aliens and alien influences, identified as Muslims and Christians.

Shankaracharya, the great revivalist of Hinduism, gave strength to national unity by establishing his four maths in the four corners of the country (pg. 93 Samajik Adhyan (Social Studies), Book I, 1998, publication of Rajasthan Rajya Pathya Pustak Mandal, meant for students of Class 4)

Today’s Indian culture is the creation of the Aryan civilisation. The word Arya is a Sanskrit word, which means the most superior being. We learn of the Aryan civilisation from the Vedas. Therefore it is also known as Vedic civilisation (Samajik Gyan, for Class 6)

The festivals of the minorities are described as religious festivals celebrated by the respective communities in their own ways while the Hindu religious festivals are referred to as social festivals celebrated by all Indians irrespective of their faiths. (Chapter 11, Paryavaran Adhyan (Study of Environment) R. R.P. P. M, for Class 3).

The Muslim League was formed in 1906 by the British in collaboration with the Muslims in order to protect Muslims interests and to ensure their loyalty (Samajik Gyan, pg. 118, R.R.P.P.M., for Class 5)

The Muslim invaders began to marry Hindu women. In order to escape this situation and to safeguard/protect their religion and culture the Hindus were ultimately forced to make their marriage laws rigid/strict. (Pg. 107, Sociology textbook for Class 12, used in Rajasthan)

The members from one caste marry only into their own caste. This ensures the purity of blood and prevents the blood impurities of other castes from entering into their blood (pg. 168, Sociology text book)

Early marriage makes adjustment between husband and wife much easier and ensures that they lead a happy married life. Child marriage prevents moral decline among the youth and ensures that sexual misdemeanors do not become prevalent among them. (Pg. 377, Sociology textbook)

One reason for communal tension is the doubt as regards their patriotism (pg. 476, Sociology textbook)

In Gujarat the standard 9 text book in its latest edition calls the Muslims, Parsees and Christians as foreigners. It also states that in most of the states Hindus are in a minority

Gujarat State board textbook

A right was given to an Indian who accepted Christianity to inherit his ancestral property (standard 8 text book, pg. 23)

The accumulation of power and wealth in the hands of the priests resulted in a perversion of the religion. Some of the priests became pleasure loving and badly behaved (Standard 8 text book)

GRAMMAR AND LITERATURE

Substantial amendments and additions that suit the RSS ideology have also been made in the grammar and literature texts for Classes IX, X, XI and XII in Rajasthan. And UP. The composite cultural heritage is totally absent in terms of content and the type of language used. The Hindutva agenda is infused into so many of the texts  used in different Hindi speaking states that one cannot simply catalogue them.

Some samples:

 

In one of the texts, "A New Collection of Poems and Literary Writings" (Nutan Gadya Padya Sangrah--the original title in Hindi), prescribed for Class IX, there are, among others, four articles, one each by Prof. Rajendra Singh (Rajju Bhaiya), RSS chief; Tarun Vijay, editor of the RSS weekly Panchajanya; K.C. Sudarshan, also an RSS ideologue; and Dr. Jalamsingh Ravlot of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch. All four articles were added this year.

The truth (knowledge) that the earth and revolves around the sun was first given to the world by Indian scientists thousands of years ago. The scientists of the western world arrived at this truth only much later, then too it was opposed by the Church (NGPS) article by Rajju Bhaiya)

India has been described as essentially a Vedic nation. This has been done on the basis of Brahmanical texts (Madhyamik Gadya Padya Sanchayan(Chapter 4, for Class 10)

The words that have their origin/roots in Arabic, Persian, English, Urdu and other foreign languages are known as foreign words, for example table, school, college, bazaar, train, ball, kalam, station, laaltein, kameez, dava, ameer, copy, zahar etc. (Pg. 11, Sachitra Hindi Vyakaran Aivam Rachna)

Timur considered it his prime duty to ferment trouble in every village. ( pg 59, Sunder Hindi Vyakaran Tatha Nibandh Rachna)

The people of India were of a religious bent of mind and led simple lives. All kinds of invaders took advantage of this….down trodden for centuries my Bharat is  now once again regaining its pride (Pg.68, SHVTNR)

With his own eyes Shivaji witnessed the atrocities of Muslims and the assault on women (Pg. 75, SHVTNR)

Rana Pratap has been described as an ideal husband and brave without compare( pg. 1, Trividha, for class 9)

Rana Pratap’s heroic deeds are the subject of a poem in the High school Hindi syllabus. The poem Haldighati, written by Shyam Narain Pandey was banned in 1975 as it was found to incite communal feelings.

MORAL SCIENCE TEXTS

The moral science texts form the central thrust of the Hindutva education programme. In the schools in the Vidya Bharati network, apart from the academic content of the instruction there is a "core curriculum", which is drawn up by the Vidya Bharati and comprises six subjects: physical education, yoga, music, Sanskrit, moral and spiritual education and sanskriti gyan (knowledge of culture). It is through this core curriculum that the Hindutva agenda is primarily pushed forward.

A series of booklets, under the general titles of Sanskriti Jnan Pareeksha (Cultural Knowledge Examination) and Sanskriti Jnan Pareekhsa Prasnottari (Cultural Knowledge Examination Questions and Answers), consist of a series of questions and their answers, which are provided in a manner that makes the rigour of original thinking superfluous. Students are required to learn by rote this "catechistic series" Then there is a series called the Sanskar Saurabh, which together with Sadachar ki Batein, are the chief instruments for influencing impressionable minds. By virtue of putting them into writing they translate into ‘truths’ the entire gamut of RSS folklore patiently and assiduously propagated by the RSS shakhas and imbibed by families across generations all over the country for decades. The concocted ‘facts’ are given added credibility and status by exploiting the unquestioning faith that people generally have in the written word, particularly the books of ‘learning’ which is what education and school textbooks represent to the popular mind.

These books celebrate violence and vendetta as form of justice, they inculcate hatred and contempt for the minorities, and justify killings in the name of defending religion. Muslims are cruel beyond compare in these books, and anything against them is sacrifice, heroism and martyrdom. They defend the most backward social practices of Indian societies by presenting them as sanctified by religion and defense of honour and self-respect. They breed irrationality, and superstition, and are inimical to a scientific temper and the secularisation of the mind. They are sectarian to the extreme, and religious chauvinism is their raison d’etre. There are any number stories on religious conversions, references to breaking of temples.

The RSS leaders and the RSS emerge as the greatest freedom fighters, capable of sacrifice, the role of everyone else is negligible.   In sections on world religions, the Vidya Bharati catechism resorts to outright communal propaganda and falsification of history: it claims that India was partitioned on account of the "conspiratorial policies of the followers of Christianity" and that Christian missionaries "are even today engaged in fostering anti-national tendencies in Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala and other regions of the country."

 The November 1990 episode depicting the assault on the Babri Masjid is repeated ad nauseum with concocted graphic details and simulated emotion in almost all the texts. It is presented as a fulfillment of destiny and part of the freedom movement, and the Kothari brothers are martyrs in the long chain of struggle against foreigners and enemies of the nation.

These books are common for the whole range of affiliated schools throughout the country. India is referred to only as Bharat in these books.

Some gems from the ‘Sanskrit Gyan’ texts:

Sanskrit Gyan texts are taught in Vidya Bharati schools and Shishu Mandirs. The RSS sponsored agenda paper on education that the Central Government tried to present before the Conference of the State Education Ministers in October 1998 suggested that these and similar texts be made compulsory for all schools.

The students are tested on dubious ‘facts’ such as:

Ram Janmabhoomi is the birthplace of Ram.

Iran was first settled by Indians (Aryans).

Homer adapted Valmiki’s Ramayana into an epic called Iliad.

Greek philosophers like Herodotus and Aristophanes were influenced by the Vedas.

The Egyptian faith was based on Indian traditions according to Plato and Pythagorus.

The language of the Native American Indians evolved from ancient Indian languages.

The cow is the mother of us all, in whose body Gods are believed to reside.

The Ayurveda is the finest medical system of the world, and it naturally evolved in India

Jesus Christ roamed the Himalayas and drew his ideas from Hinduism.

The ‘Sanskar Saurabh’ series

O God Jagdeeshwar, father of this world, give me this quality, I may be born worthy to serve the Hindu, die in the cause of the Hindu. If I fail to give my life for the Hindu let me burn in hell. These are the lines of a poem (Pg. 48, Sanskar Saurabh, Part 2, meant for Class 4)

On witnessing Guru Teg Bahadur’s staunch defense of his faith the Emperor (Aurangzeb) grew red with anger. This was the same Aurangzeb who had Matidas cut through with a saw, Bhai Dayaldas thrown into a vessel of boiling hot oil, and Satidas wrapped in cotton and burnt alive …Even in the last moments of his supreme sacrifice his pride in being a Hindu shone clearly on his face (in the context of the story of Guru Teg Bahadur’s  ‘martyrdom’, Pg. 49-50, SS 2)

The stories Vir Balak Badal, Balidan Mein Jeet Kiski, Vir Balak Chatrasal promote hatred and strengthen all the prejudices against Muslims. They liberally contain sentences such as ‘ If you accept Islam your life may be spared’ or ‘The Muslim leader said we have come here to destroy temples’ (Pg. 57-61, SS, 2)

The student is asked to draw the picture of Akhand Bharat (pg. 11, SS Part 2)

Sati is presented as a Rajput tradition that we should be proud of (Chapter 28, SS, Book 3, for Class 5)

On Guru Arjun Dev’s refusal to accept Islam Jahangir had a furnace constructed next to the river Ravi, and a vessel filled with sand placed on it, after which he ordered a fire to be lit. Guru Arjun Dev was then called and asked to sit on the hot vessel (pg. 72, SS, 3)

Bharat exists, has culture, learning, civilisation, religion, good deeds as long as this Hindu jati survives, remains dominant…(lines from a poem, pg. 77, SS, 3)

We are one, our culture is one, our tradition is one, our life-current is one, and we have but one history. We have to gain self-knowledge, and on the basis of self confidence, manliness and daring, create for society a monumental national man through the medium of traditional ideology of Indian culture…This view of Golwalkar opposing the pluralistic character of Indian culture and tradition is strongly put forward. (Pg. 7, SS, Book 4, for Class 6)

It is because we are the children of Manu that we are known as manushya or manav (human). This is claimed in a tale of blind faith and superstition. (Manu Aur Manav, Chapter 3, SS, 4)

The Muslim butchers are the killers of cows…The Hindus who killed them are to be venerated, their only fault being that they did it while they were asleep (Pg. 57, SS, 4)

There is a description of Hegdewar unfurling the saffron flag on a British building and it is said that the organised strength of the Hindus that we witness today is the result of his sacrifice and strong commitment (Pg. 64, SS, 4)

The Muslim children abused Durga Bhavani. They also falsely accused Haqeeqat Rai, and a maulvi forced him to accept Islam. He (Haqeeqat Rai) said that one has to die just once and what better cause to die for than one’s religion. For this his head was severed from his body, and he became a martyr on the altar of religion and gained immortality. (Pg. 69-70, SS, 4)

November 2, 1990 (the day of assault on the Babri Masjid) is a moment of history the remembrance of which brings tears to every eye…on which the bugle of victory sounded…(pg. 70-71, SS, 4)

Aurangzeb said to Sambhaji “Accept Islam and your life will be spared and your kingdom returned to you”. To which Sambhaji replied “Religion is dearer than life or kingdom. I am born a Hindu; I will die a Hindu. Aurangzeb ordered, “with a pair of burning tongs tear open every piece of flesh from this kafir” (Pg. 25, SS, 4). Such graphic sentences abound in a chapter on this piece of ‘history’ from which a moral is to be derived, and such chapters abound through out the book, and in fact the entire series.

Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh are shown as parts of India once and the student is urged to pray to a picture of this Akhand Bharat and to pledge that he will once again achieve the same shape for our country. (Pg, 31-32, SS,4) there is a poem with the same sentiment in the book.

Scientists consider plants as inanimate while the Hindus consider them as animate and to have life (Pg. 45, SS, 4)

The worldview, thought, values and behaviour of the Hindus is most superior in this world (chapter 21, SS, 4)

In our lives we should accept only the Swadeshi religion, Swadeshi culture and swadeshi goods, celebrate our birthdays according to the Indian tradition...yes for the defense of the country it would not be a crime to buy Russian Migs…(Pg. 52, SS, 4)

Bharat is the most ancient nation in the world. Our original ancestors Manu and Shatrughan gave life to this earth…Indian Ocean is referred to as Hindu Mahasagar( pg. 1, Akhil Bharatiya Sanskriti-Gyan Pariksha Prashnotri, ed. Vidya Bharti, for Class 8)

The real name of Lucknow is Laxmanpuri and it was made into a habitation by Laxman (pg. 7, ABSGPP)

On refusing to accept Islam Banda Bairagi had the heart of his son thrust down his throat (Pg. 9)…The Aryan civilisation is the oldest in the world (Pg. 11,ABSGPP)

Shikha, Mekhla, Tilak, Mala, Dand, Saffron clothes, are symbols of Indian attire. Educational reform, a cultural campaign, and doing away with the legal obstacles that prevent its growth are very necessary today (Pg. 13, ABSGPP)

There are 8 questions just on Rama janambhoomi in the context of which there are answers such as-there were 78 battles fought for the rama janam bhoomi,around three and a half lakh people were martyred in its cause. Specific dates of the locks to the place being opened, the date when kar seva began, the date of the assault, details of the Kothari brothers etc. are provided and students are asked to remember them as possible exam questions. (Pg. 14, ABSGPP)

The Hindu belief s are characterised as a Dharma (religion, way of life) while the Sikhism, Christianity, Islam are described as sects. (Pg. 16, ABSGPP)

Our ancestors established national unity on a permanent basis by building Shiv Mandirs and Shivlings (Pg. 20 ABSGPP)

Our culture is one. It is also known as Hindu culture. Everybody’s heritage, tradition, and belief are one. Everybody celebrates Holi, Divali and Dussehra together. The same mantras are recited on marriages and other occasions. Our cultural symbols, identity marks are the same. The cow, Ganga, Gayatri Mantra and Gita are revered by all equally. All believe in rebirth and karma , and everyone equally pays respect to sadhus and sanyasis (Pg. 11, Sadachar ki Batein, for Class9)

Among the builders of Indian culture have been included Sri Krishna (Chapter 9, SKB)

Urdu is not an independent language. It is Hindi written in a different (Arabic) script (Pg. 65, SKB)

Cultural symbols are identified as and confined to the lotus, gayatri mantra,  natraj,ganga, gita, sun, swastika, etc

It is almost nine lakh years since ram stepped on this holy Arya land and even today his reign is remembered as one of happiness, prosperity and peace (Pg.29, Dharma shiksha, for Class 6) 

Sri Krishna is referred to as a nationalist (Pg. 65, RI)

Man first took birth in Tibet, originally a part of Bharat. All beings were Arya beings. It is from there that they spread out into the fields. It is now 179 million crore, 19 lakh, 59 thousand, 84 years since man stepped on this earth (Pg.67, RI)

Dayanand Saraswati would have recovered from his poison had a Muslim doctor and then an Englishman not treated him first (Pg. 56, RI)

VEDIC MATHAMATICS

The propagation of an unscientific, chauvinist and obscurantist worldview is not confined to social science teaching. The kind of havoc that these right wing fascist Hindutva forces can play with young minds pervades their books on science and mathematics as well. 'Vedic mathematics ' is not something being propagated simply 'out there' in RSS shakhas. In 1991 all the four BJP ruled states i.e., Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, introduced Vedic Mathematics (VM) into the school syllabus and intended to do the same in the syllabi of engineering colleges and polytechnics. While they were forced to withdraw it from the government schools, the teaching of VM continues elsewhere, and attempts are being made to reintroduce it again. The source of this VM obsession is an old book penned by late Sri Bharathi Krishna Tirthaji Maharaja, Sankaracharya of Govardhana Matha, Puri., published in 1965.

Jagadguru Swami's book became the focus of a National Workshop on Vedic Mathematics held at Jaipur in March 1988 by the Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan and various other Government bodies and universities. The proceedings were published as issues in Vedic Mathematics (Khare, 1991). The seminar enjoyed the official patronage of the Ministry of Human Resource Development

The core of this mathamatics is the assertion that “Our ancient Indian Vedic lore should be all round complete and perfect and able to throw the fullest necessary light on all matters which any aspiring seeker after knowledge can possibly seek to be enlightened on."  And that exceedingly tough mathematical problems can be easily and readily solved with the help of these ultra-easy Vedic Sutras...contained in the Parisishta (the Appendix-portion) of the Atharvaveda in a few simple steps and by methods which can be conscientiously described as mere mental arithmetic." The superiority of “Hindu” over “Western methods is constantly asserted.

The NCERT in its review of textbooks in 1996 found the school texts for maths, based on these formulas, to be absolutely preposterous, and recommended their complete withdrawal from the educational scene.

ARCHAEOLOGY IN SERVICE OF HINDUTVA

With the launch of the Hindutva movement on Ramajanam bhoomi and the claim on Babri Masjid and numerous other medieval monuments built by Muslims, professional archaeologists and historians have been mobilized by the RSS for the falsification of evidence related to medieval monuments and ancient archaeological sites. For decades a so called historian by the name of PN Oak has been writing that the Taj Mahal is really Tej Mahale and so on, claiming Hindu ancestry and architectural claim to many medieval monuments. But it is with this new campaign that this falsification has been directly linked with communal riots and anti minority campaigns.

The most blatant examples pertain to the Babri Masjid, the Somnath temple and the Kasi Visvanath temples In the case of Ayodhya it is ignored that it has a composite heritage, that Buddhism had flourished there and so on. Despite the convincing refutation of these claims they continue to persist with these lies not merely in their propaganda material but also in school textbooks.

Some of these falsifications are:

Ayodhya has always been a Hindu city and it is the birthplace of Ram.

The Babri Masjid was built by Babar after destroying an existing Ram temple.

The Indus civilization (Mohenjodaro and Harappa) is Aryan civilization and that remains of the horse, identified with the Aryans have been found there.

Because these sites are now in Pakistan therefore it is claimed that the real big site is in India collectively known as Sindhu Saraswati civilization

The Indus valley script is claimed as a kind of folk Sanskrit

Ram bhakti and Krishna Bhakti have always been the dominant form of worship in the northern regions, and exhibits have been selectively chosen for museums to prove this claim.

The bhakti movement is shown to have derived from the expression of protest against the atrocities of Muslims.

The Indo Gangetic plain has been the cradle of civilization because of its special essence of association with the holy Ganges, rather than one of the many settlements and civilizations associated with the general proximity to water and other resources.

All this is accompanied by an attack on and claims over places of worship where people of different religions converge to worship together in common ways, by showing them as sites of Hindu deities originally.

MYTHS ABOUT MINORITIES

Myths about minorities aimed at evoking hatred against them, which originated in the RSS shakhas and spilled over to become common sense and roadside history, have been reinfused into the texts as facts and knowledge. The Muslims as inherently cruel, whose raison d’etre is jihad, the each one marry four and have twenty five children, dedicated through history to breaking temples and forcible conversions abound and are recurring images. Their nationality is questioned, as is their loyalty. The community itself is presented as narrow-minded, sectarian, exclusionist in contrast to the Hinduism and the hundred flowers blooming image. Semitic itself is a word of abuse, and the student can in no way be informed of the diversity within Islamic tradition, the pluralistic architectural and general cultural traditions among them, or their rootedness in their regional environment and language and cultural expression-a feature that the ‘People of India’ project survey clearly demonstrates. One need not mention here what RSS and other member outfits of Sangh Parivar have done to Christians recently. Their long-carried propaganda against Christianity is no less vicious either.

GENDER QUESTIONS

The RSS worldview on family and women are clearly reflected in the school texts. It comes out through specific statements in social science texts or stories in the moral science education series, with reference to backward practices prevalent in our society such as sati and child marriage, or through themes that have a bearing on women, for example significance of rituals and tradition. Inequality for women is sanctified in the name of religion and tradition, and preference for women to remain at home is justified on grounds of self-respect, honour and defense of tradition. Child marriage, casteism, racism, sati, and opposition to widow remarriage are shown as intrinsic to the Hindu tradition and Hindu tradition to be in consonance with nature. The Brahmanical social norms have a natural basis and are superior for being derived from the Vedas and the Aryan origin, and Manu is the last word in interpreting them. Manu’s status is unquestioned on grounds of the ‘fact’ that he is the first human on this earth, who gave birth to life, and the word human (manav or manushya) derives from him.

The primary role of women literally is as breeders and nurturers of society and family. There is a measured call to women, reminiscent of fascism, in the images of Durga and Kali, which become identified in these texts, with the ire against those categorized as enemies of the Hindu religion, and by extension of the nation. In an entire book, discussing the great women who need to be emulated, we have figures like Jhansi ki Rani shown as fighting for the Hindu nation, but primarily the role models are Sita and Savitri, the ideal wives. This is carried to the extreme in the story chosen on a rishi and his wife, where she combines her skills in efficient home keeping (which the state education ministers conference sought to make compulsory for women) with remaining literally a shadow not heard or noticed.

 

HINDUTVA INSTITUTIONS

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has always considered its schools to be an important component of the political, ideological and social agenda that they are engaged in, and efforts in this direction have spread far and wide over the last 50 years. The Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Siksha Sansthan was established in 1978 with the objective of providing a coherent organisational setting for this work.

 The one hurdle they have encountered in this endeavour is the inadequacy of governmental recognition and support, which they have tried to get over through a new directive of the present BJP government. The government has decided that the system of “licences” is done away with and all schools running for over ten years are automatically given recognition. In UP and other states where they have their own government they have also managed to transfer substantial funds for these schools under the pretext that these are among the schools which are running well, while the government schools can easily be shown to be inadequate. This spell of BJP rule has therefore meant a great increase in the affectivity of RSS affiliated schools. The conference of State Education Ministers and Secretaries held by Murli Manohar Joshi, Minister MHRD also aimed at providing governmental sanction to the activities of the Vidya Bharati and carrying its agenda into the Government schools.

 Today the organisation runs 14,000 schools at the nursery, primary and secondary levels and has over 18 lakh pupils under its tutelage. These schools are run in all States except Mizoram, and they employ over 80,000 teachers. Of these about 5,000 are recognised by and affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) or the respective State Education Boards. A large number of these are in States where the Bharatiya Janata Party has remained in power. The schools themselves are known by a variety of names, such as Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Bharatiya Vidya Niketan, Gita Vidyalaya and Saraswati Bal Vidyalaya.  Their educational boards too have a variety of names such as Shiksha Samiti, Shiksha Vikas Samiti (Education Development Council) and Sarv Hitkari Shiksha Samiti (Education Council for Universal Benefit), Vananchal Shiksha Samiti. Many of the schools come under the ambit of autonomous trusts or dominant caste groups and run by industrialists. Many are affiliated to state education boards. Affiliation to State education boards is a crucial element of these schools' popular appeal and the curriculum followed here conforms to the one prescribed by the State board. The core of the ideological programme is therefore carried out through extra-curricular activities.

Teachers are given special training in the Hindu ethos and way of life. The schools have a system of maintaining a record of the day-to-day activities of each student, especially regarding the progress or lack of it in the core curriculum. For girl students there is emphasis on home keeping as well. All schools typically have a prayer hall with idols of Hindu deities These schools observe Teachers' Day not on September 5, the birth anniversary of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, but on July 25, which is claimed to be the birth anniversary of the sage Vyasa. They observe Children's Day not on November 14, Jawaharlal Nehru's birth anniversary, but on Krishna Jayanti. Teachers are advised to visit the parents of the students once a month. Publications of the RSS are often mailed to all the parents. There is emphasis on reaching out to tribal and backward regions to counter the effect of Christian missionaries. Women are involved in a big way in the school network throughout the country. The main organisers of the schools are invariably RSS pracharaks committed to the Hindutva cause.

The Vidya Bharati controls 60 colleges, which offer graduate and post-graduate education, and 25 other institutions of higher education. The organisation also runs two teacher-training colleges, in Jaipur and Ahmednagar.

The RSS had in 1969 also formed the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM), essentially an organisation of teachers belonging to the RSS, which focussed its attention on evolving a "Hindutva curriculum". According to an RSS publication, the BSM's objective was to "infuse a Bharatiya content to the educational system". It is the teachers belonging to this organisation who drew up the syllabi for Classes I to X on moral education, which is uniform, and compulsory in all RSS linked schools.

In addition to these the RSS has sponsored the Indian History and Culture Society to counter the Indian History Congress an academic body that has staunchly defended secularism and democracy in this country. It has taken over the Indian Archaeology congress, forcing secular historians to form a separate organisation called the ASHA (an association of secular historians and archaeologists). The RSS linked Bharatiya Itihas Samiti is aimed at rewriting along communal lines the history of every district. The Bharatiya Vichar Kendra, the bowdhik vibhag of the RSS is, in their own words, trying to evolve a team of historians to be trained in the collection, evaluation, corelation and presentation of facts in keeping with the world view that history is a search for realisation of the divinity i.e. from the bharatiya point of view. All these organisations feed into the material produced for schools.

 

Appendix I

Vidya Bharati Paper

Amidst strong and committed protests the BJP Government was forced to withdraw its saffron agenda on education at the State Education Ministers’ Conference held on October 22, 1998. The controversial document to be made the basis of discussion was prepared by Vidya Bharati, an RSS front organisation. In the name of making education at all levels ‘Indianised, Nationalised, Spiritualised’, the Government attempted to push through a fascist and right–wing thrust into education.

This right–wing thrust involves changes in content as well as the structure of education through the infusion of religious fundamentalism in school textbooks and through commitment to the globalisation agenda in education.

The recommendations that involve changes in the content of education include:

a) The curriculum from the primary to the highest level, even the vocational courses, should incorporate “the essentials of Indian culture”. This should form 10 to 25 percent of the syllabus.

b) Although no differentiation would be made in the curriculum for boys and girls at the primary stage, at the later stages the curriculum for girls should include “training in home keeping.’’

c) A comprehensive programme for mother tongue as a medium of instruction at all stages of education should be launched.

d) In view of its unique contribution to cultural unity and ancient wisdom, Sanskrit may be made a compulsory subject from class 3 to class 10.

e) Moral and spiritual education should be introduced at all stages in all schools and the universities for inculcation of ‘national character and desirable social and national values identified by the Sangh Parivar as Hindu values)

f) Sanskrit vandana and Vande Mataram should be made compulsory in all schools.

g) Curriculum should be enriched through its indigenisation (identified again as saffronisation).

g) Sanskrit universities should be established in four zones of the country. Already the budget for this has been sanctioned, while many other branches of study are starved for funds.

h)A course on Indian (read Hindu philosophy) in all higher education programmes, especially vocational courses should be provided.

i) Upanishads and the Vedas should find due place in the curriculum from primary to the higher level courses.  

The recommendations that promote changes in structure include:

a)      Access to higher education should not be virtually unrestricted as at present. Changing the mass character of higher education will not only raise academic standards but also lead to substantial saving.

b)      General education should be given through the distance mode.

c)      The initiative for education should lie with the community and not with the government.

d)      The new educational institutions started by the registered organisations/societies running the educational educational institutions for the last ten years should be automatically recognised and affiliated to the Government or semi- Government organisations controlling the educational systems at the states or the center. The system of ‘ permit ‘ and ‘licence’ (affiliation) in education should be abolished at the earliest to facilitate the recognition of the Vidya bharati and RSS schools which have mushroomed all over the country in the last decade).

Article 29 and 30 dealing with the rights of the minorities to establish educational institutions should be amended. In order ‘to avoid tension” this special provision should be done away with. 

Appendix II

‘Guruji’ Golwalkar in his own words

The recently held State Education Minister's Conference in Delhi has finally brought into the open the no-longer hidden agenda of the Sangh Parivar. Anybody who has read Savarkar and Golwalkar will know that the RSS has from its inception in 1925 set itself the goal of transforming the Republic of India into a Manuvadi Hindu Rashtra. Golwalkar's unashamed praises of Hitler and of the latter's racist (Aryan) pogroms against the non-Aryan Jews in We, Our Nationhood Defined remain significantly unrepudiated by the Sangh Parivar to this day. We quote Golwalkar:

"German race pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic races - the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a god lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by."(p.27)

That lesson is explicitly elaborated upon by Golwalkar:

"From this standpoint sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations; the non-Hindu peoples in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land and its age-long traditions, but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead; in one word, they must cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment, not even citizens' rights." (p.52)

This crudely exclusionist and coercive agenda hardly requires much explication. What is clear from the above is that:

1. In the RSS view races and cultures (Hindu, Muslim, Christian) which are divergent in creed and religious practice cannot be "assimilated into one united whole." We recall that the poition taken here is a loyal endorsement of colonial and imperialist views on the "Hindu-Muslim" questions.

2. Contrary to the pretence now being propagated that Hindutva is a "way of life" (so denominated by Retd. Justice J S Verma of the Supreme Court, Golwalkar clearly speaks of the "Hindu religion," and ordains upon non-Hindus to learn the "glorification of the Hindu race and culture."

3. While preaching "tolerance" to what Golawlkar considers "foreign" races in India, the intolerant threat is made explicit: should they refuse to fall in line, they must remain "subordinated to the Hindu nation" and lose even "citizen's rights."

Inspite of the fact that Christians settled in India (52 AD) some seven hundred years before Adi Shankaracharya was born, and that Muslims had made Malabar their home a century before, how does the Aryan Golwalkar look upon the matter? We quote:

Muslims and Christians "are born in this land, no doubt. But are they true to its salt? Are they grateful towards this land which has brought them up? Do they feel that they are the children of this land, its traditions and to serve it is their great good fortune? Do they feel it a duty to serve it? No. Together with the change in their faith, gone are the spirit of love and devotion for their nation" (italics original, Bunch of Thoughts, pp.127-128)

All that makes it understandable as to why the RSS flying in the face of long-established historical truth, needs to propagate that the Aryans, after all, never came from anywhere but were original inhabitants of Hindusthans. Only such a construction can then render everybidy else "foreigner."

Is it any surprise then that Golwalkar actually raised objections when Havildar Abdul Hameed and the Kalor(???) brothers were honoured for their supreme patriotism and gallantry during the Indo-Pak conflict of 1965 (Swatantra Bharat, Lucknow, December 24, 1965).

 

Appendix III

People of India

An eye-opening introduction:

The BJP notion of the Indian nation, of Indian society, culture and tradition has been most effectively challenged by the data published by the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) in a series of publications titled collectively as the Peoples of India. This data is the result of a detailed and complex survey carried out, analysed and reported upon by a specialised team of 500 trained scholars of whom 284 belonged to the ASI and 216 belonged to various universities, research organisations spread over the country. It was headed and coordinated by KS Singh the then Director of the organisation, and a scholar of great repute.

The survey was conducted mostly by anthropologists, particularly social anthropologists, although there were also some scholars from the allied fields of linguistics, psychology,, ecology, bio-chemistry within ASI and a smaller number of historians, sociologists and political scientists as well who adopted the methodology derived through study and discussion. They were all scholars with grassroots knowledge of the communities studied by them.

The project covered a period of almost a decade, from 1985 to the publication of the first introductory volume in 1992. The methodology adopted for the study was such as to minimise arbitrariness. Its complexity and thoroughness is apparent from the fact that 91 cultural zones were identified. As many as 4258 communities have been covered in a single culture zone over the states, 331 communities have been studied in two culture zones and 45 communities have been covered in more than two culture zones. The data have been collected from 421 districts. Of them 3972 communities have been studied in one district, 512 have been covered in two districts and 151 in more than two districts. Sometimes as many as 1807 communities have been covered in a single village, 783 have been studied in two villages and 475 communities in more than two villages. Similarly, 1794 communities have been investigated in one city/town, whereas, 393 and 182 communities have been studied in two or more than two cities/towns respectively. The settlements and the communities are evenly distributed across the country. The total number of communities identified, after rigorous criteria of categorisation, located and studied, was 4635. The definition and identification accounted for how the communities perceived themselves, how they were perceived of by others in various ways, their present and changing profile in both cases.. Not only are the changes covered, but the linkages between different communities have also been mentioned and dealt with.

This project has given real teeth to the political truth of unity in diversity that we talk so much about. And in the precise manner in which it has defined and given content to this truth it has also challenged every dogma that the Sangh Parivar has been propagating for so long. The conclusions of this valuable study are the following:

As a people we do not constitute a single homogenous community. We are one of the most diverse people in the world. There are 4635 identifiable communities in this country, diverse in biological traits, dress language, forms of worship, occupation, food habits and kinship patterns. It is all these communities who in their essential ways of life, express our national popular life.

Every body who has inhabited this land for a long time is an Indian. Nobody is a ‘foreigner’ in this country and there is no pure Aryan. Most Indian communities have a mixed ancestry, and it is today impossible to separate our roots. Indian roots derive from a mixed ancestry that includes the Proto-australoid, Paleo-mediterranean, Caucasian, Negroid, Mongoloid. The racial components that have gone into making the Indian peoples are the Aryan, Greek, Hun, Arab, Turk, African, Mongol, European. These have got so intertwined that none of them can be found in their pure form in India today.

Genetic and morphological traits within some communities vary more than those between communities. Homogeneity is along the lines of region, not caste or religion. It has been scientifically disproved that upper and lower castes have a different racial ancestry. For example, Tamil Brahmans have little similarity of Racial traits with Brahmins in the North--say, a Kashmiri Pandit. The Brahmans and people of the lowest caste in most regions show remarkable homogeneity in this respect. Many segments of the Muslim population do not show any component that can be called migratory. They have descended mainly from the local population.

There are few communities in India, which do not consider themselves as migrants or "outsiders". Every community recalls its migration in its folklore, history and collective memory. All accepted the regional ethos of the area that they settled in, and contributed to its local traditions. Even invaders became migrants eventually.

Indian culture has gained many of its elements from migrations.

Many settlers professing Islam actually settled here earlier than those today professing Hinduism.

Language is an important source of diversity and unity. There are as many as 325 languages and 25 scripts in use, deriving from various linguistic families--the Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, Andamanese, Semitic, Indo-Iranian, Sino-Tibetan, Indo-European, apart from thousands of dialects. At least 65% of the communities are bi-lingual, most tribal communities are tri-lingual. The numerous mother tongues are important instruments of cultural expression and preservation of diversity. Language contact through biligualism is a major vehicle for social and cultural inter-action.

85% of the Indian communities are rooted in their resources. The lives and livelihood, the occupations, dress patterns, the songs and hut settlements of the different communities cannot be really separated from their landscape, climate and occupations deriving from their resources. Experts say, "rootedness in the eco-cultural zone is an outstanding characteristic of our communities, no matter what religious label attaches to them". Even the migrants seek to identify themselves with their local environment except in the matter of languages they speak at home or in marriages.

Only 3% of the communities derive their names from religious sects, while 71.77% live within a single regional or linguistic boundary and are rooted in its ethos. Those in Kerala and Lakshadweep share a great number of traits, those in Kerala and Punjab do not.

55% of the communities derive their names from the traditional occupations they pursue. Say, Bhuiyar (peasant), Alvan (salt maker), Churihar (bangle-maker), Lohar (blacksmith), Buna (weaver), Chitrakar (scroll-painter), and also gaddis, gujjars, julahas, dhobis, sapera, nai, etc. etc. 14% have their names associated with their environment i.e. montains, plains rivers etc. 14% from their places of origin, such as Gond, Alhuwalia, Kanpuria, Chamoli, Arandan, Shimong.

Caste categories are also based on occupations, and cut across religion. Many surnames derive from occupations pursued, offices traditionally held, and original villages, cutting across community boundaries and region. Singh, Acharya, Patel, Naik, Prasad, Gupta, Sharma, Khan are examples.

Popular cultural expression cuts across religion. 775 traits have been identified by experts--relating to ecology, settlement, identity, food habits, marriage patterns, social customs, social organisation, economy, and occupation, linkages, and impact of change and development, which reveal a sharing of traits across religious categories. Hindus share 96.77% traits with Muslims, 91.19% with Buddhists, 88.99% with Sikhs, 77.46% with Jains. Muslims share 91.18% traits with Buddhists, 89.95% with Sikhs. Jains share 81.34% traits with Buddhists. The Scheduled Tribes share 96.61% traits with OBCs, 95.82% with Muslims, 91.69% with Buddhists, 91.29% with Scheduled Castes, 88.20% with Sikhs.

Markings of identification by different communities are mainly non-religious. In dispensing their dead, 3059 communities cremate them. As many as 2386 bury them. Many communities follow both practices. So is the case with many marriage symbols, food habits, dress, dance and musical forms. Clans bearing names of animals, plants or inanimate objects cut across religions, language, region etc.

The communities in India have not remained isolated. They have interacted with their physical and social environment and with each other, in conflict and a give and take through centuries of shared life and struggles. This has given form and content to our diversity and unity, and is the best guarantee of our unity in diversity.

People of India: An Introduction by KS Singh is the introductory volume to the monumental series produced by the Anthropological Survey of India. The introductory volume has been published on behalf of ASI by Seagull Books, 26 Circus Avenue, Calcutta 700 017

 

Acknowledgment:

Democratic Teachers’ front (DTF), Janvadi Lekhak Sangh (Rajasthan), Frontline