National Convention Against Communalisation of Education: A Report
In a major development the Education Ministers of nine non-BJP states came together at a National Convention Against Communalisation of Education to sign a statement calling for the withdrawal of the National Curriculum Framework put forward by the NCERT at the behest of the BJP government. It was the culmination of deliberations lasting for three days at the Constitution Club, organised by the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT), on August 4-6, 2001.
The opening day saw a massive response to the issue in the form of more than 600 participants from more than a hundred cities and towns. Participants included eminent academicians, educationists, teachers, research scholars, cultural professionals, journalists and activists.
THE COMMUNAL AGENDA
Professor Prabhat Patnaik, who chaired the morning session on the first day, set the tone when he said that the objective of the Convention was to "put an end to the attack on rational discourse". He pointed out that the present government has converted almost every national level education and academic body into an instrument for implementing the communal agenda of the Sangh Parivar.
The Sangh Parivar's assault on reason is manifested in its attempt to spread communal propaganda among school children, through its devaluation of the scientific temper in education, its deliberate downgrading of the natural sciences by putting them at par with vedic astrology and vaastu, and the promotion of an irrational view of history not supported by evidence.
We should not get cowed down by the Sangh Parivar sponsored propaganda of the "tyranny of rational discourse", he said, because allowing for the changes promoted by the communal forces would
* School of Correspondence Courses, Delhi University, Delhi
Social Scientist, Vol. 29, Nos. 9 - 10, Sept - Oct 2001