Call for inclusion of Quran, Bible mounts after NIOS decides to teach Veda, Gita

By Hasan Akram

New Delhi: The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), which comes under the Ministry of Education has decided to teach Veda, yoga, Sanskrit language, Ramayan epic narratives, Bhagavad Gita teachings and the Panini-propounded Maheshwara Sutras under Bharatiya Jnana Parampara’ (Indian knowledge tradition) courses.

Reacting to the NIOS’ move, some activists and politicians demanded the introduction of other religious subjects such as the Quran and the Bible.

Rashtriya Janata Dal national spokesperson MA Anwar Hussain said that he welcomes the introduction of Veda and Gita but he also wants inclusion of Quran, Bible, GuruGaranth and Buddhist as well as Jainism literature.

Centre for Education and Research Training (CERT) has also criticised the introduction of 15 Bhartiya Jnana Parampara courses. It said that the move ”betrays a singular vision of ‘Indian’ literature and history”. 

”This curriculum is completely omissive of the heterogeneity of values and ethical traditions of communities inhabiting the country, thereby threatening the cohesion of the plural Indian society. Preferential bias towards any cultural tradition to represent all Indian knowledge is violative of our constitutional principles,” said Fawaz Shaheen, Director of CERT.

Times of India has purportedly misreported that NIOS is to take Gita and Ramayana to madrassas through Bharatiya Jnana Parampara courses. However, the report was dismissed by the Ministry of Education.

A senior NIOS official told Muslim Mirror on the condition of anonymity that NIOS does not make any subject mandatory to anyone. Students are free to take subjects as per their choices.

However, eyebrows have been raised over the introduction of Hindu religious subjects such as Veda and Bhagavad Gita under the guise of Bharatiya Jnana Parampara courses.

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