BJP’s Assault on Education and Educational Institutions
By Nalini Taneja, Delhi University
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
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
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
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
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.
TThe 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 Vyas, meant for
Class 12 students in Rajasthan schools). India is the original home of the Aryans (pg. 82,
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,
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
The religious factor was the predominant factor in policies and conflicts throughout the
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
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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-
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
‘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
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-
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,
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
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
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-
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%
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
Democratic Teachers’ front (DTF), Janvadi Lekhak Sangh (Rajasthan), Frontline