And those who don’t respect the Constitution?

After his suggestion that the Bhagwad Gita be taught for an hour every day to school children was resisted, Karnataka’s minister for primary and secondary education, Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri, has been quoted as saying that if “someone does not respect the Gita, they have no place in India. They should leave the country and settle abroad.”

Editorial in the Indian Express:

“Apart from ignoring the constitutional injunction against introducing religious material in public schools, Kageri has displayed the worst instincts and rhetoric of the right, publicly stating that those who disregard a certain Hindu religious text do not belong in India….

“It is the politics represented by people like Kageri that remind us how important it is that our state schools remain faith-neutral…. [His] words are a reminder of the still-real danger of those who would shape education to their own ends, and they undermine one of India’s founding values. If anyone has a problem fitting into this plural and secular nation, it is people like him.”

Editorial in The Times of India:

“Whether Kageri or the state BJP likes it or not, there is a constitutional issue around religious preaching by State schools. Article 28(1) of the Constitution forbids religious instruction of any kind in educational institutions wholly funded by the State….

“Kageri’s approach also sums up another common ailment of Indian education ministers. They still do not see their job as expanding the boundaries of education and promoting useful skills that will empower the young, but as prescribing what should be taught, using schools and colleges to disburse patronage, policing the boundaries of Indian culture, and turning education into a tool of political propaganda.”

Cartoon: courtesy Prasad Radhakrishnan/ Mail Today

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31 Responses to “And those who don’t respect the Constitution?”

  1. Kumar Says:

    I fail to understand, what is religious in Bhagavadgeeta?
    Is it that, it is being looked at as sacred by Hindus, itself is enough to categorize it as religious?

    And if the minister is following a communal/religious agenda and if that is against constitution, then why nobody is pulling him to court!?

  2. extremerightturn Says:

    why should anybody leave India. This nation is for Katua population.

    Infact we should shut down all schools and have only madrassas teaching us how to make bombs.

  3. Lavanya Says:

    C’mon! he was totally misquoted! he used the phrase – “People who do not respect Indian culture”… and when Christian missionary schools can make children recite prayers, why not the verses from Gita?! If u look at the end result of this teaching in children, its only encouraging them to follow Dharmic path..what’s wrong in that?!

  4. harkol Says:

    if one voted for BJP thinking Congress is corrupt, BJP has proved it is corrupt to the same extent and in addition bigoted too.

    Truely – Party with a difference.

  5. Indian Says:

    Though I deplore the minister’s alleged statement on Gita I have my own following genuine concerns .
    If Article 28(1) of the Constitution forbids religious instruction of any kind in educational institutions wholly funded by the State, then madrasas are also funded by State governments across India I believe.If so,are madrasas not teaching on Islamic religion? I have even seen some minority engineering and technology institutions boldly displaying their religions themes in building arichitecture , constructing prayer halls within or adjacent to the premises and even putting boards of quotes taken from their holy books. at all prominent places in the premises . If anybody wants to see them I can provide them a list of names of such institutions . In the school where my daughter is studying everyday before classes start she is asked to recite quotes from Bible in the assembly . They are not even permitted to put bindi on their forehead. Has anybody taken-up this the way Gita or Ranmayan issue is being taken-up?. . I am not really against other religions in asking these questions.

  6. Kumar Says:

    @harkol,

    Why do you want to divert the topic?
    Whether it is BJP or Congress, it doesn’t matter – in democracy, both are needed.
    For a good democracy, power should keep on shifting.

    But, now the question is about Bhagavadgeeta.
    Even US and UK, schools have started teaching Bhagavadgeeta.
    So, why are we averse to teaching Geeta in our schools?

    Do we think that Dharma and Religion are same?
    Where in Geeta do you see religious preachings?

  7. Deepak Says:

    Keep religion away from education you morons (politicians). Handful of you have studied beyond 12th what makes you think that you are qualified for any proposals on education. huh..

  8. Balaji Says:

    http://www.hindu.com/2008/02/20/stories/2008022056430800.htm

    When E.Sreedharan talks about Gita, no one accused him of “Pro-Hindutva” bias!!!!

  9. Mysore Peshva Says:

    The Geeta is not religious scripture, but dharmic. If Western philosophy and Homer may be taught in our schools, why not the Geeta?

    Self-styled secularists who equate the Geeta with the Bible or Koran have probably read none of those scriptures. They evidently have not read the Geeta.

  10. nilesh Says:

    The minister should explain why he has three kids all girls. did he want a boy heir.

  11. twistleton Says:

    it may not be religious, but it is damned preachy :D…..

    Irreverence is not punishable in Hinduism. It would be nice if it is kept that way.

  12. Vinay Says:

    Twisleton:

    “Irreverence is not punishable in Hinduism. It would be nice if it is kept that way.”

    Well said. Some of our regular commentors on churumuri want to compete with the Abrahamic religions in fanaticism and hatred.

  13. Ramesh Raghuvanshi Says:

    I don’t think GITA is religious text.It is very precocious ethical guide.If you know or not, but Gita was condoned by ardent Hindu
    fundamentalist from ancient time. Bigot Hindu did not allowed children to read Gita,even they did not keep this book in their house. Till I deadly opposed to make compalsary to read by student in school.

  14. Kitapati Says:

    Mysore Peshwa,

    “If Western philosophy and Homer may be taught in our schools”

    I am intrested to know which schools in india teach Homer and Western Philosophy to school children.

  15. kingfisher Says:

    completely agree with the minister keeping aside the politics of the party. We Indians, i presume by nature, are a Hippocratic lot. Do we hear the same voices against the preaching of bhagwad gita, raise against the teaching of bible or prayers in the christian sponsored educational institutes ?

    I wonder how yardsticks differ when it comes to hindus teaching gita. For all voices raised against gita, kindly ensure the same parity is used in christian schools in the first place. before you strike at the minister.

    Start teaching bhagwad gita in at least 1 school at Vatican. Try sponsoring a Hindu school at the holiest place for Christians and preach bhagwad gita there.

    Can anyone imagine that happening ?

  16. Vinay Says:

    Twisleton:

    “Irreverence is not punishable in Hinduism. It would be nice if it is kept that way.”

    Well said. Some of our regular commentors on churumuri want to compete with the Abrahamic religions in fanaticism and hatred.

  17. harkol Says:

    @Kumar

    Schools in US/UK teach Bhagavad Geeta? Could you site your sources please?

    Unless you are a literary student, I wonder what purpose is served by learning Geeta as a compulsory subject. One can argue Geeta is a poem – it is – a great one. But, then Quran is a poem too. So, unles syou are studying Sanskrit, or Arabic, why study these poems?

    Geeta is a holy document to Hindus because it defines the ‘Hindu Philosophy’. It is called ‘veda sara’. Now, I am not against learning Geeta/Veda. I learnt Yajurveda in a residential Gurkula and chapters of Geeta in later childhood. But, that is part of our family tradition. I won’t force it on others.

    You ask what is religious about Geeta? For eg. consider the concept of Atma & rebirth – that’s a matter of faith. Not all religiong believe in rebirth.
    “vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya, navani grhnati naro parani, tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany, anyani samyati navani dehi” going on to “nainam chindanti shastrani, nainam dahati pavakaha, na chainam klaida yantyapo, na soshayati marutaha”

    Now would you call that just a scientific fact, or a religious faith?

    And regarding the BJP govt’s adherence to Geeta. How well have they understood ‘dharma’? When everything they are doing is patent adharma? Just see how deeply they are involved in land & mining scams. Theft of public property – surely not what Geeta taught them?

  18. harkol Says:

    @Kingfisher: I studied in a famous christian convent. We were never taught Bible.

    We were told moral stories in Moral science classes, but then it included all sorts of stories (from western faith to Indian moral stories). There indeed was a prayer in Moral science class, but it was to be done in turns by students, and since most students were hindus, it invariably was some sanskrit shloka.

    Our assemblies began with invocation of ‘asato ma sadgamaya…’.

    @Mysore Peshva: It isn’t secularism that dictates not teaching Geeta in schools. It is irrelevance. It can’t be anyone’s case that Geeta shouldn’t be taught to language students. But, making it compulsory?

    If at all you know of a regular school, that forcefully teaches Bible (other than religious schools meant for that purpose), then all you need to do is complain to education board – IT IS ILLEGAL.

  19. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    In this country BJP can never ever win the support of the people. This is because the party is full who are unable to keep their “basic instincts” in check as soon as they come to power. Corrupt governments continue to come to power, because majority of the nation does not trust the BJP.

    We should have some other political formation.

    The BJP minister who tried to devalue the importance of Gita by making it compulsory (all education must be voluntary) should be sacked immediately. The central leadership of the party must take action, or they will loose whatever credibility they might still have left.

    He has insulted the sentiments of all Hindus. He has tried to devalue what Hinduism stands for. This is the most liberal religion or way of life in the world.

  20. Nastika Says:

    If Gita is just a life-guide (with stories) then likewise Quran, Bible are life-guides too (with stories).

    Either recite 2 stanzas of either of these, or none of these.

    I don’t think 99.99% of school kids understand either Sanskrit, Arabic or Hebrew and so it doesn’t matter.

    Note: Why burden kinds, how about making compulsory reciting in Vidhana Soudha? That would be fun.

    .

  21. Simple Says:

    If BSY had read Gita, probably he wouldn’t have been been neck deep in corruption.

    If Halappa had read Gita, probably he wouldn’t have raped that poor lady.

    If Katta had read Gita, probably he wouldn’t have cheated farmers and made zillion bucks.

    If Reddy brother had read Gita, perhaps they would have resisted from mining illegally.

    if Vishweshwar Hegde had read Gita, he wouldn’t have made such intolerant remarks.

    So Gita should be compulsory subject for BJP MLAs in Karnataka.

    Perhaps then we can really see some good governance sans rapists, illegal miners, liars and thieves.

    But if these people have already read the Gita, then clearly it is not helping. They are continuing with their dark misdeeds – and worse, they are brazenly, defiantly, publicly defending their evil acts.

    It does not require any holy book to tell us to be honest. It comes from an innate sense of goodness.

  22. harkol Says:

    Perhaps Gadkari is the new Krishna for BJP, giving the a new Geeta to the citizens of Karnataka?

    Gaadkari Bhagavata uvaacha :

    Immorality (Aneeti) is OK, as long as it is not illegal (Adharma).
    Dharma/Adharma will be judged by me from time to time.
    You just keep doing your Duty (Karma:’vote BJP’),
    Don’t expect any fruit (I’ll decide who gets them).

    More on BJP, Scams and Gita by someone who had her own version of “immoral, but not illegal argument” (Error of Judgement, but not unethical)….

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/Southern-discomfort/Article1-724308.aspx

  23. Anonymous Guy Says:

    No problem if Geeta or any other religious text is taught in a school, as long as the teachers adhere to the law of the land and use their common sense and good judgement.

    Problem is when minister makes statement that if someone does not respect the Gita, the should leave India.

    Shows the casteist, fanatic thinking behind the move. The minister probably does not care whether the essence of knowledge is used to improve a child’s reasoning and thinking. He seems to just want to use the Gita as a stick to beat people of other castes and religions.

    It is no wonder Deve Gowda is smiling. When BJP shows their narrow minded thinking, it will drive all people except the brahmins, banias and perhaps lingayats to the arms of JD/Cong.

    BJP should make hay when the sun shines.

  24. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Balaji,

    If the minister had not followed up his prescription with noises of hate, he would have been treated the same way as E. Sreedharan. Majority of people are not against the Gita, Bible, Quran or what have you. It is the thought of these books being showed down our throats by a third rate politician which raises our hackles.

  25. harkol Says:

    Anonymous Guy:

    hmm… Casteist mindset eh?

    How about bracketing ‘all people except Brahmins, Banias and Lingayats’? That’d be ‘Jatyateeta manobhava’ ?

    I am a Brahmin (by birth, if not by practice) and hate BJP’s agenda. I know quite a lot of others. So, one can’t generalize.

    Having said that – Unfortunately, our politics doesn’t have many broadminded folks. Politicians are narrow minded because good number of people do vote on the basis of caste, ignoring corruption and damage to society. When it happened in Bihar – Bihar was ruined. I’m so afraid Karnataka may follow suit.

  26. Anonymous Guy Says:

    harkol,

    You are a convent educated dharmabrashta. You are supposed to leave the country and settle abroad – the bahishkara prescribed for studying homer and western philosophy.

  27. harkol Says:

    Anonymous Guy:

    ‘Supposed’ ‘Prescribed’ ‘Bahishkara’ etc… BY WHOM SIR? Sri. Kageri and his party??

    These worthies swore in the name of god that they will carry out the duties of their office without fear or favor. Yet, they did both. Shouldn’t those words apply to them first?

  28. sandeep Says:

    Would like to see what he said myself . Can anyone please give me a link to the video of the speech? Looking for something that has atleast a few lines not just a small part where he says that people should leave the country. Thanks.

  29. Suma Says:

    He says ‘respect Geeta’ and not ‘believe in Geeta’. So what’s wrong with the statement/expectation!?

  30. harkol Says:

    @Suma

    That’s only part of ‘statement/expectation’. The ‘full’ expectation includes “quit India”!

    You can’t ask a citizen to quit the country irrespective of his crime. Even a mass murderer can be condemned to death, but will still have right to live within the country (even if it is a jail).

  31. hema Says:

    Education teachs us the discipline & how to live this valuable life beatifully & makee it successfull. Geeta too wants to teach us the same BUT i think some concepts of geeta cannot be followed in our present day circumstances .so it should not be taught as u should do this & that but how to impliment it in our real world life.

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