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Maharashtra: BJP demands inclusion of Bhagavad Gita in schools

March 23, 2022

Magal Prabhat Lodha, a BJP member of the legislative assembly has demanded the state’s Shiv Sena led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government introduce a chapter of the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, in the state’s educational syllabus. Lodha’s contention is that other state boards across the country are already introducing it as part of their school syllabus.

On Monday, the state’s school education minister, Varsha Gaikwad had announced integrated and bilingual textbooks would be introduced for class I students in the state’s Marathi language schools in the forthcoming academic year (2022-23). Responding to the same, Lodha demanded the new changes in the texts should include Bhagavad Gita studies too since “The Gita is not only a religious book but a treatise on the essence of life”.  

The demand follows the move to introduce the Bhagavad Gita in the school syllabus by BJP ruled state governments like Gujarat and Karnataka. State governments introducing the Hindu scripture in school curriculum say they are adhering to the new National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP, 2020) which allows the ‘Indian Knowledge Systems’ theme.  

The NEP 2020’s Indian Knowledge Systems theme says, “All curriculum and pedagogy, from the foundational stage onwards, will be redesigned to be strongly rooted in the Indian and local context and ethos in terms of culture, traditions, heritage, customs, language, philosophy, geography, ancient and contemporary knowledge, societal  and scientific needs, indigenous and traditional ways of learning etc. in order to ensure that education is maximally relatable, relevant, interesting and effective for our students.”

While the Karnataka government has constituted a committee to decide on the inclusion of the Gita in school curriculum from the 2022-23 academic year, Gujarat announced the introduction of the Gita for classes VI to XII across the state in the forthcoming academic year (2022-23).

Gujarat’s education minister, Jitu Vaghani announced on March 17,  the government’s decision to implement the NEP 2020 recommended ‘Indian culture and knowledge system’ by introducing the values and principles of Bhagavad Gita in state government schools in a manner that students are able to understand as well as get interested in it. Students of classes VI to VIII who will have Gita studies as a compulsory subject will be evaluated for the same. The study will be in the form of storytelling and recitation.

Also read: Karnataka to consider teaching Bhagavad Gita in schools

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