The Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh are in a bid to create narratives by constantly altering the curriculum. Madhya Pradesh, which the Bharatiya Janta party governs, has decided that the MBBS students will have to learn about RSS founder K B Hedgewar and Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya. It has included Swami Vivekanand and B R Ambedkar.
This shows that BJP is trying hard to change the perceptions of RSS’ founders. A lack of names in the list has made them include leaders who necessarily don’t fall into their ideological web. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that projection of Swami Vivekananda as a Hindu idol is ‘ill founded’. Tharoor said, “I have read the original text, and I can tell you what he believes and what he stands for.
When these people highlight sentences like ‘arise, awake and stand up and say things like ‘be proud to be a Hindu’, what was it that he (Vivekananda) wanted us to take pride in? He wanted us to take pride in precisely this: The acceptance of other faiths.”
Prabhodan Pol, a history professor with Manipal University, explains RSS’s role in appropriating Ambedkar as an ally of RSS in the Wire.He says, “During the past few years, fictional narratives about Ambedkar’s ideological camaraderie with RSS leaders have begun to emerge. In such narratives, it is pointed out that Ambedkar had visited an RSS camp and was impressed by the “egalitarian” treatment given to the untouchables.
These assertions are made without any documentary evidence of the visit, and his association with the RSS leadership.Where documentary evidence exists, RSS has conveniently brushed aside those facts which prove that Ambedkar was one of the most incisive critics of Hinduism.His criticism of Hinduism led to his public renunciation of the religion and subsequent conversion to Buddhism.”
However, Madhya Pradesh state education minister Vishwas Sarang ensured that this move brings Hedgewar, Upadhyaya, Swami Vivekanand and Ambedkar under one ideological umbrella.
The minister said, “The students of the first-year course of MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) will be lectured about Hedgewarji, Upadhyayji, Swami Vivekanandji, Ambedkarji and other great personalities. Lessons on these great personalities will inculcate values, principles, social and medical ethics in the students.”
Meanwhile, there is selective erasure of History from the curriculum. In July 2021, historians and the student community criticised The University Grants Commissions after omitting the ‘Mughal empire’ in its new curriculum for History in undergraduate programs.
In the new framework, the papers are titled ‘Idea of Bharat’. According to a report, the new chapters include ‘Concept of Bharatvarsha’, ‘Eternity of synonyms Bharat’ and ‘The glory of Indian Literature: Ved, Vedanga, Upanishads, Epics, Jain and Buddhist Literature, Smriti, Puranas etc.
The NCERT is still in the process of revising the syllabus. Some members have confirmed that the process to be completed by 2024 will be speeded up to be finished by 2022. This is for the years coming to see how the slow change in the curriculum interrupts our fundamental understanding of History.