The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka on Friday, 18 March, announced its plan to introduce the Bhagavad Gita in the syllabus of all state schools.
This move comes after the BJP-led Gujarat government announced on Thursday, 17 March, that the 700-verse Hindu holy scripture will now be a part of the syllabus in all schools of the state for Classes 6-12 from the academic year 2022-23.
Karnataka Education Minister BC Nagesh said on Friday that the Bhagavad Gita would be taught to school students under the Moral Science subject after consultation with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
"If everything is agreed upon, we will consult education experts and decide on the aspects and syllabus of the Moral Science subject. The duration of the class will also be fixed. Why Bhagavad Gita should not be taught to the children?" Nagesh said.
Giving arguments in favour of introducing the Hindu text in schools, Nagesh added, "When you ask someone how a well-cultured society can take shape in the absence of schools and universities from the times immemorial in the country? The elders say that they read or heard about Ramayana, Mahabharat, and Bhagavad Gita."
'Gita Already a Part of Syllabus': K'taka Congress Prez
Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar said that lessons from Hindu epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharat, as well as the Gita were already present in the state's school syllabus, adding that the BJP was trying to glorify the matter.
"I have opposed the National Education Policy (NEP) since the beginning. The present syllabus includes everything. There is no necessity to include anything new to it. There is nothing left for BJP to take credit for in the issue. Our late Chief Minister Kengal Hanumanthaiah had distributed copies of the Bhagavad Gita for Rs 2 earlier," Shivakumar was quoted by IANS as saying.
The decision to add the Bhagavad Gita in the state school syllabus gains prominence especially after the Karnataka High Court upheld a ban on the wearing of hijabs in educational institutions. Advocates of the hijab ban, which included several members of the BJP, had argued that religion and education must be kept apart.
(With inputs from IANS.)