At a time when saffronisation continues to threaten free speech in India, it is also slowly seeping through our education system. While the impact of saffronisation of literature is concerning, last week, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Ram Shanker Katheria said at a function that education would be saffronised for the benefit of the nation.
He made this declaration while speaking at an occasion at the Lucknow University on the 342nd coronation of Shivaji, Katheria – whose ministry oversees education policy – insisted that bhagwaakaran (saffronisation) would “definitely” take place.
“They asked me, some people are saying, are you saffronising education? I am saying there will be saffronisation in education and in the country… Whatever is good for the country, it will definitely take place. Call it saffronisation or ‘sanghwad’, if you will, if it’s good for the country then, it will definitely take place,” Katheria said.
The minister had earlier made controversial comments of communal disputes. Earlier in the year after he spoke of Muslims needing to prepare for a ‘final battle’ with Hindus, explained why he thought the saffronisation was necessary.
“We kept silent for such a long time and never accused anyone of anything. But today there is such a condition in this country, that we need to create a curriculum that increases the reputation and respect for India in the rest of the world,” he said.
“If our children do not learn about Maharana Pratap or Maharaj Shivaji, then who should they learn about – Genghis Khan?”
The then Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani had said in the past that the charge of “saffronisation of education” is, to her, “water off a duck’s back,” because it is a charge levied on every education minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party.