Describe the social evils in Islam like triple talaq and Halala, write an essay on the nature of GST in Kautilya’s Arthashastra, discuss Manu as the first Indian thinker of globalisation- these were some of the questions that were part of the Political Science paper for third semester students of MA History in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) a few weeks ago.
The question paper had raked up a huge controversy even at the national level. The imposition of ideologies using the question paper was part of the efforts by the Hindutwa forces aiming at the saffronisation of education. The people in the discipline of mathematics had raised criticism that questions like ‘if 50 Kar Sevaks are required to demolish a masjid, how many Kar Sevaks would be needed to destroy 10 masjids’ often appear as part of the maths curriculum in the primary schools of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Examinations are a platform where students have no other option. Imposition of ideologies through questions framed with tailored goals are what is happening through such moves.
Brainwashing generations by igniting prejudices and hatred is the modus operandi of Fascists and racists. They would prepare syllabi, textbooks and question papers in tune with that. ‘Vidya Bharati Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Sansthan’ is the parent organisation of the RSS that operates at the national level aiming at this goal. This organisation had distributed textbooks in the schools of Kerala in October this year as part of the Sanskrit examination which invited a huge hullabaloo. The content of the textbooks distorted history, described legends as historical facts and ignited hatred towards other religions. It is while an LDF government was in power that the RSS successfully organised examinations based on textbooks filled with hate.
Another instance of creating hatred through question papers, came two days ago from MG University with its question paper for the 5-year LLB examination. The question is based on a hypothetical case that may arise if Indian parliament passes a bill to outlaw love jihad. True, it was a question to test the legal knowledge of a candidate based on a hypothetical situation. But for that, choosing love jihad as an example cannot be seen as an innocuous act. It was on 6 December that in Rajasthan, a Muslim labourer was hacked to death on allegation of love-jihad and then burned, and the same was shot in a video that spread through social media. That murder should be attributed to bigotry inspired by the wide propaganda on love jihad by Sangh parivar and the media. Love jihad is in fact a fiction with considerable striking power, and created nation-wide by the media and law order machinery in tandem with Sangh parivar outfits. What drove the murderer of Afrazul Khant is something that can happen to anyone under the influence of such propaganda. When in Rajasthan a young man is hacked in cold daylight in the name of love jihad, in Kerala love jihad enters the scene through an LLB question paper.
It would be pointless to expect that any action will be taken against those who prepared this misleading question paper capable of sparking religious discord. The ministry of education in Kerala has of late been displaying a rare knack in allowing implementation of the saffron agenda. It was the same quarters who issued a circular asking enthusiastically for a celebration of the birth centenary of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. And last week the ceremony of laying the pole of the tent of school arts festival was held with special pooja. All put together, it is a fact that Hindutva agenda - overt and covert - are being implemented through the education department of Kerala. When the country was abuzz with beef politics, Kerala's minister of education had created a stir with a speech bracketing meat and fish with egg, liquor and smoking. It is easy to guess the extent of attention and political vigilance to be expected from a ministry led by such a person. Saffronization and sowing discord and hatred are schemes implemented not only through RSS pamphleteering; it is done through several other channels. It is incumbent on democratic society not to lose its strict vigilance.