14 May, 2021

Spar Over A Rainbow

A government panel set up to 'review' curricula wants to incorporate India's composite culture, not its 'Hindu' heritage alone, to the Sangh's chagrin

Spar Over A Rainbow

"Oh, Mother Earth, give to us, as your children the capacity to interact harmoniously, may we speak sweetly to one another." —Verses from the Prithvi Sukta, Atharva Veda, quoted by former chief justice J.S. Verma in a speech last year

VEDIC ideals may not be within the immediate grasp of government panels, yet a high-powered committee to ensure the enforcement of fundamental duties could do no harm. Moreover, the Supreme Court had in a recent ruling on a writ petition noted the failure of the government to instil a better civic sense in its citizens. But when the committee was formed on July 21, human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi couldn't have envisaged that it would propagate some uncomfortable ideas.

Ostensibly the committee's terms of reference is to focus on how to "operationalise the suggestions to teach fundamental duties" at the primary, secondary and university level and "review the existing academic curricula" in the country. Yet the panel—chaired by former chief justice J.S. Verma and...

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