Vedic mathematics needs to be a part of the national school curriculum, according to the Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (SSUN), an organisation affiliated with the RSS. This is one of several points of feedback sent to the Ministry of Human Resources (HRD) about the draft National Education Policy (NEP), which will be discussed in an upcoming seminar by the Ministry called “Gyan Utsav 2076”, at the Indira Gandhi National Open University in New Delhi on 17 August.
“Right from Vedic times till now, the Indian knowledge system has to be introduced in schools,” Atul Kothari, secretary of SSUN, told the Print. “Inclusion of Vedic mathematics, for instance, is a suggestion that we have given on draft NEP so that young students will not rely on calculators as their minds will become very sharp. In competitive exams, calculators are not allowed.”
Vedic mathematics isn’t the only form of traditional knowledge the group demands be included. The SSUN, founded by the former Secretary-General of RSS-run school Vidya Bharati Dina Nath Batra, has also demanded that the Vedas, philosophies of Swami Vivekananda, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Abdul Kalam, and other tenets of Indian traditional knowledge be included in the NEP.
The Narendra Modi government recently revised the New Education Policy draft to exclude a provision that made Hindi lessons mandatory for school students in non-Hindi-speaking states as well. Tremendous uproar followed in states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where the move was perceived as an attempt to force the language on them.
This isn’t the first time SSUN has pushed for the inclusion of Vedic mathematics in the curriculum. The Nyas, headed by Dina Nath Batra, sent the National Council for Education and Research Training (NCERT) a five-page list of recommendations on how to make school textbooks less “biased” and more “inspiring” in 2017, an Indian Express report said. Among these recommendations was the removal of English, Urdu and Arabic words entirely, the removal of a poem by the revolutionary poet Pash and a couplet by Mirza Ghalib, thoughts of Rabindranath Tagore, an extract from painter M F Husain’s autobiography, references to the Mughal emperors as benevolent, and removal of references to the BJP as a “Hindu” party and the National Conference as “secular”, an apology tendered by former prime minister Manmohan Singh over the 1984 riots, and a sentence that “nearly 2,000 Muslims were killed in Gujarat in 2002”. The group also demanded that a line in the class seven history book stating that Akbar introduced a “Sulah-e-Kul policy,” which said that “the followers of all religions have an equal place… (before) God’s grace,” be removed.
In the past, the group has succeeded in getting what they demanded. The Nyas ran a campaign demanding that A K Ramanujan’s essay ‘Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation’ be removed from the Delhi University undergraduate syllabus. It was. The Nyas demanded that Wendy Doniger’s book ‘The Hindus’ not be sold in India, and the publisher, Penguin India, had to pull the book from circulation.
The SSUN has held a total of 35 conferences across the country with 6,000 educationists to date, the organisation has said.
The draft of the National Education Policy has been criticised aplenty for its suggestion to make Hindi compulsory, and could soon see more such opposition after the RSS’s Gyan Utsav 2076 seminar.