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Row Over Teaching of Hindu Culture

on 2001/8/23 9:43:02 ( 1229 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, Aug 22, 2001: Controversy has erupted in India over what opponents are calling the federal government's bid to change the secular nature of the education system by introducing new syllabi glorifying Hindu culture and leaders and emphasizing Sanskrit, Vedic studies and astrology. The move has upset intellectuals and liberal political parties, including some allies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who say they will go to battle over the issue which has the potential to change the face of the country. Citing the fact that the secular nature of India's education system is defined in the Constitution, several BJP allies said on Monday they would oppose the introduction of new syllabi. But Hindu nationalists see nothing wrong in children being informed of India's ancient indigenous heritage and in putting right what they say are overly liberal and apologetic views of history. Thus, many schools across the country have over the past four years or so, or approximately the period the BJP has been consolidating its power, incorporated Hindu prayers in their morning assemblies and Hindu religious rituals on special occasions. Nearly all schools in India are supported by government funds. But Muslim and Christian schools have always taught religion, while Hindu and public schools have not.

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