Nothing is unexpected from a government that is running the religious roller-coaster to bulldoze the faculties of ‘reason and proof’ even in the fields of scientific education. A latest report of ‘The Hindustan Times’ revealed about the FRIMAN of ‘Health Ministry’ that aspiring physiotherapists will have to study Indian epics and Hindu scriptures as part of their bachelor’s program prepared by a panel headed by PM Narendra Modi’s yoga guru. A UGC official said they had written to universities in June, pointing out that after referring to the Ayush template they may adopt modules from the syllabus depending on the requirement of the course.
The Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP) president Dr Umashankar Mohanty said in a release. “Health ministry has already designed the model of course curriculum after consulting experts, which covers every aspect of physiotherapy education related to clinical practices.” However, Indian Association of Physiotherapists which is a body with a membership base of over 50,000, has objected to Ayush ministry’s move to include epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and religious treatise Bhagavad Gita and Narad Bhakti Sutras in their curriculum.The association said that no stakeholder was consulted and the syllabus was being pushed arbitrarily.
Dr Prabhat Ranjan of AIIMS, said, “The move will dilute the purpose of evidence based and scientifically practiced profession of health.”
That raises a fundamental question – How far a regime can drag the sacrosanct edicts and mythologies of RELIGION into politics and social life of democratic socialist secular country like India where several religions and religious practices prevail and ‘University in Diversity’ is the spirit of our written Constitution?
Indian Secular Ethos don’t allow to impose majority’s ideology upon Indians of other faiths. As a matter of fact, per se, the religion of majority is full of diametrically opposite interpretations and often more it’s a philosophy than ‘strict and water-tight’ tenets of some other Indian religions.
Actually, what the RSS / BJP Juggernaut is trying to do in the education spheres is to trot out religion decked in scientific trappings in a cynical parody of the real thing. I won’t go in details but from the ancient micro-surgery to Pushpak Viman are a few anecdotes of them.
Religion is to be taught at home, monasteries and tabernacles and not in Scientific and Literary Institutes. In every university we do already have the departments where the education and information about Contemporary and Extinct religions is easily available in profusion. Those interested and desiring to know more about religion can always avail those facilities.
The rewriting science and history to include a clearly Sanatan Dharma Hindu View in its textbooks is the travesty of the spirit of ‘True Education’.
Induction of mythology that is being flashed in religious text will leave students in the dark about contemporary mainstream scientific development and controversies.
The choice of ‘Trojan Horse’ of religion into the domains of ‘Reason’ and ‘Proven Evidence’ would destroy the basic purpose of education that is acquiring wisdom. It is an alarming ruse and puts into retrogress the progress of civilization. There must be “separation of church and state in education also.” The ‘religious curriculum imposed upon science curriculum would serve no other purpose except the saffronization of education and that is the hidden or clandestine agenda. This curious undertaking based upon the taxpayer money is contrary to expectations of a secular state as long it is a secular state.
Do we also want the stories of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ also to be put into our Scientific Studies? Some believe these stories also true!
There should be no confusion and let no one fail to understand that this kind of willful instruction in saffron fantasy is harmful for the ‘serious scientific attitude’ which is real need of the hour to pull the nation out of poverty, hunger and disease.
The taxpayer money should not be expended to propagate the unproven sagas of bygone if they are not worth contributing to the learning of the specific subject. The dogmas and beliefs are to be followed and practiced for the religious engagements. They can’t help for the development of a Vaccine of AIDS or Cancer.
The RSS attitude towards education is a strategic failure of a thinking system that is steeped in religious fanaticism. We have to understand how we do our science and how to interpret it. Amalgamating religion and science in the crucible of Scientific Studies doesn’t help reduce the weight of challenges the nation in facing in 21st century. Science exists solely as a challenge to Ignorance and any effort to pave it with religion would defeat the forward march of civilization.
I’d recently heard in a lecture of a Scientific Society during my exploratory beat:
“In reality, obviously, science is something we should all embrace. We study the natural world so that we can understand it and often, use it to our presumed advantage. Tracing the path of this understanding nourishes important analysis and critical thinking skills, grounded in an evidence base and the concept of testable hypotheses, questions you can ask that experimental results can answer. Treating what lies beyond the natural world as having a place at the table in science education is just as false as casting the two as head-to-head adversaries. Obviously, in our multicultural democracy, no one conception of faith, spirituality, or belief has right-of-way in taxpayer-funded education. And when our students learn about how the natural world works, the only concepts that should have the right-of-way are evidence-based findings, established theories and laws, and testable hypotheses. If people don’t learn that testability and evidence are essential features of science, they won’t understand whether it’s science they’re being sold because they won’t have a good understanding of what science is.” End of quote
The great scientific spirit generated and bequeathed by our beloved Prime Minister Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru took us to great strides in Space, Nuclear horizons and Agriculture. The vision and courage of Priya Darshni Indra Gandhi and Rajeeve Gandhi gave us Pokhran and Computer.
Their visions were de-linked from any mythology and ideology. Those were based on pure science. We can’t make our scientific education a prisoner of religion. We can’t move forward if won’t dispense with the prejudices of caste, class, region and religion. Scientific education is the only weapon where the crusade of nation progress begins, not in the saffron hue of past clouds.
By Naim Naqvi