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Introduce culture, agriculture and military training in the curricula

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Dr Bipin B Verma
Dr Bipin B Verma
The author is a retired professor of NIT Rourkela. He follows a nationalistic approach in life. His area of interest is “sustainable rural development”. Email: [email protected]

The purpose of the British colonial rule over India was to plunder this land’s wealth and civilize the natives, the white man’s burden (a phrase used by the British). To achieve their objectives, they manipulated the society so cleverly that even after seventy-three years of independence we continue to exist in a state of stupor, unable and even unwilling to extricate ourselves from the hypnosis.  India was the richest land before the arrival of the East India Company and India’s world export share was 19%. In India, 35% to 50% of village lands were revenue free and the earning from those lands were utilised for running schools, conducting religious festivals, producing medicines, feeding pilgrims, improving irrigation etc. The British brought down the revenue-free lands to 5% [1].

When there was a protest, the British ruler argued that the government would take care of irrigation, education etc. An educational board was created to take care of education. However, nothing was done on the ground. That was simply a strategy to spoil the irrigation and water conservation and uproot the original education system of the nation. Around the beginning of the 19th century, the Company felt the need to introduce western education in India. By that time, Christian missionaries had already established several educational institutions which were attached to the churches. The Charter Act of 1813 directed the Company to spend one lakh rupees on the education of Indians [2].

On Thomas Macaulay’s advice, the government passed an Act in 1835, declaring that educational funds would be utilised for imparting Western education through the medium of English. In 1844, English became the official language. In 1854, Charles Wood, the President of the Company’s Board of Control, created a properly articulated system of education from the primary school to the university [3]. Following were the objectives behind these changes:

  1. Fulfil the need for low-ranking English-knowing Indian clerks. Educate Indians to maintain their expanding bureaucracy.
  2. To create a population loyal to the government and create a shield against the nationalists.
  3. The systematic destruction of the Indian system of education, the best in the world. 
  4. To divide the society based on caste, they deprived certain castes of their school education. It may be noted that there was no caste-based discrimination in Indian Pathshalas and Gurukuls. Indeed India had a caste system but there was complete harmony and respect for each other.
  5. Spread Christianity through schools.

The purpose of education in India

Even after so many years of independence, we have not tackled the Macaulayian issue. In fact, we participated in deepening its roots. The situation is grim and church-affiliated missionary schools are flourishing even in rural India. The poison induced by Macaulay continues to weaken the nation. We hardly care to know the history, culture and philosophy of India. We look for an imported idea and model for an Indian problem. Is not it funny and even frustrating? For few bucks, the best brains and the best energies are engaged in solving western problems, enriching their science and technology, growing their economy and creating the market for their products. Neither in schools nor homes, any attempt is made to enrich the young brains and expose them to national culture.

In modern India, there is hardly any change in the attitude and the objective of education. The purpose of education before independence was to get a job as a clerk, serve the British government and lead a hassle-free life. Now a day, the purpose of education is to acquire a degree to get a job as a software engineer or a manager and work for a foreign company. The young Indians “enjoy” their lives in shell both physically and mentally. The importance of society, culture, religion and nation is never recognized by individual and family. Unfortunately, their exposure to the world is limited to social media and mobile chatting. After all, how does a nation die? One way is physical destruction as the Europeans had done in America and annihilated the whole civilizations. Another is when people lose faith in their way of life, principles and philosophies. Remember, change in religious faith was a major cause of the fall of Rome (313CE), and the failure of Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Culture and History of Bharat

The National Education Policy 2020 appears attractive and the intention seems to be healthy. However, the implementation will be a Herculean task, especially due to the attitude of oppositions. One should welcome the attempt to reduce curriculum load, to recognise the importance of mother-tongue, emphasis on learning than remembering, vocational training, skill development etc. However, the steps for implementation and changes in the curricula are not highlighted. Perhaps it will be done later. It is important to mention that we should introduce the subject “Culture and History of Bharat” from class V to X, and expose our children to real culture and history. Unfortunately, the existing textbooks present manipulated and distorted history written by western and leftist historians. Remember, it is the utmost responsibility of the country to retain its cultural and religious entity especially for a country that has a rich cultural heritage and history of over 10,000 years [4]

Importance of agricultural training:

Agriculture plays an important role in the economy, especially in a country like India. Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population [5]. Gross Value Added (GVA) by agriculture, forestry, and fishing was estimated at Rs. 19.48 lakh crore (US$ 276.37 billion) in FY20. The share of agriculture and allied sectors in GVA of India at current prices stood at 17.8 % in FY20. Our soils are fertile and the traditional knowledge are wise and perhaps the best.

The world is already facing a food shortage and India can become a food and grain bowl for the world. Ministry of Commerce and Industry introduced Agriculture Export Policy, 2018 to double farmers’ income by doubling agricultural exports from the country and integrating Indian farmers and agricultural products into the global value chain. The export of agriculture is targeted at US$ 60 billion by 2022.  It is also proposed to double agricultural exports from the country by integrating Indian farmers and agricultural products into the global value chain [6].

Unfortunately, the urban youths do not have even an elementary knowledge of farming, horticulture and related industries and business. Rural children also require updating their knowledge and acquiring modern scientific developments. Classroom knowledge and vocational training in farming is essential for the overall personality development of the young generation and open another avenue for lucrative employment, enhance export of agricultural products, increase the income of farmers and overall national growth [7]. Imparting the farming knowledge to the young generation is the key to successful farming in India.

Importance of military training:

In a world, where crime and violence are common, going through military service would enable the young generation to defend themselves against any perceived threat. This would not only keep them secure but would also make the society and the people around them safe. Furthermore, military service can promote discipline, leadership quality, crisis management and nationality among the youths. By this training boys and girls will be equipped to handle national crisis during wars and natural calamities etc. smartly.

Inclusion of some new subjects, skill development programmes, agricultural training and military training may not be possible in the proposed school teaching structure. Therefore school teaching programme may be suitably extended. It is also advisable to include questions from culture and history, agriculture and military science in all competitive examinations.

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Dr Bipin B Verma
Dr Bipin B Verma
The author is a retired professor of NIT Rourkela. He follows a nationalistic approach in life. His area of interest is “sustainable rural development”. Email: [email protected]
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