This Month’s Feature Article
A Note on the New Educational Policy
The Indian government has introduced a new education policy which has taken a departure from the left-oriented education policy that prevailed in India since the time of British rule. The British left no stone unturned to harm India’s education system and culture. They systematically brought in education policies that penetrated even the elementary education so that, since childhood, a sense of detachment is developed among children towards their motherland and its heritage. Children are made to believe that all indigenous practices are either superstitious, unscientific or uncivilized. Unfortunately, I was also a product of such left-oriented education. Although I never hated Indian culture or heritage nor did I make fun of it, I never had any appreciation for it. I can solely attribute it to the education system we had in place during the time I got educated.
I never gave a thought about the education system of those days until I was thrown into some situations in the Netherlands during my early thirties. A few instances that happened in the Netherlands opened my eyes! In 2012 I was working Vrij University and was chatting with a colleague after work. The chat went around the Netherlands and was very casual. A sentence just slipped out of my mouth- “Netherlands is a small country so it must be easy to manage”. This instant and sharp response was: “Yes, it is small, but we will make it big”. I was taken aback and could not stop thinking- I did not say anything wrong or offensive, but how could my simple observation upset him. In another similar instance, on a Facebook post I had mildly criticized all sorts of yoga being commercialized in the West with an example of a yoga studio in the Netherlands. That cost me the friendship of a Dutch friend!
After such incidents, I started asking questions to myself- Why am I not able to rebut when someone talks bad about my country? Why do most of the Indians join foreigners in blaming India? Why do we always fail to stand up for ourselves and our country? As I started digging deep into these questions, doors opened, truth unfolded and I started following, reading and listening to Rajiv Malhotra, Subramaniyan Swamy, Sanjeev Sanyal, S. Gurumurthy, Sahana Singh and the likes. As I dived deeper, I started recalling what I studied- the distorted version of caste system, Hindu rate of growth, disadvantages of joint family system, the glorification of Mughals, their plundering, killings and the defeat of original Indian kings. I very clearly remember studying in the course curriculum about how the belief of Hindus in the concept of Karma can hinder country’s growth! And this is not restricted to one subject, but was included in Economics, Sociology and Political science! When this idea was hammered repeatedly, I believed it to be the truth! Unfortunately, my generation of educated people never studied the glorious history of India. We were never told that the India was the education epicentre of the world. People from many counties travelled to India to get admitted in Indian universities. We were never taught about Nalanda or Takashashila universities and never told about the inventions of Indian astronomers and mathematicians when the rest of the world was still hunting and gathering. I learnt that India contributed one-fourth of world’s production before colonization in my late thirties, but not when I was in school. People in India are still made to believe that yoga is useless, and Sanskrit is a dead language while the western part of the world has realized the worth and is busy studying both.
Whatever is taught during the childhood stays with the person forever unless one makes a deliberate attempt to unlearn the distorted facts and to search for truth. I often feel that had we been taught of our rich ancient education system and India’s contribution to world’s production prior to colonization, today’s generation would have taken pride and would have changed the fate of our country. Unless one feels proud of one’s country, one does not put any effort in its development. But it is heartening to see that the present government is changing the left-oriented education system to a nationalistic education system. The overview of the policy looks promising and soon is going to be a reality. Today’s children in India will be lucky to receive an education with a nationalistic standpoint and hopefully they will play a major role in making India proud again.
A VIDEO ON THE NEW EDUCATIONAL POLICY OF INDIA 2020
Mrs Seema Hegde is a doctorate in economics and is writes regularly on various issues in journals. She lives in Amsterdam.