From Hindi to Bharatiya Values, How Much Did RSS Influence NEP?

The emphasis on Indian languages and inclusion of creative arts in the curriculum reflects the RSS’ influence.

Updated
Education
2 min read
The new National Education Policy (NEP) approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday shows that the government has walked the political tightrope.
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After the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, 29 July, approved the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said they welcome the overhaul in Indian education, and that at least 60 percent of their suggestions have been accommodated.

The policy draft went through several consultations, among them suggestions by the RSS –  the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological front. A stream of RSS affiliates were involved through the drafting process, pushing to Indianise education.

The emphasis on “multi-disciplinary” and “multilingual” education reflects the RSS’ influence on the NEP.

But the government has walked a tightrope by improvising and dropping some of the other suggestions made by the right-wing group.

On Hindi

The RSS had demanded that the Union Government take a stand on the three-language formula, making Hindi a compulsory language for all students from VI grade. This was protested by several states, especially Tamil Nadu, which has always pointed this out as “Hindi imposition”.

The earlier version of the draft NEP uploaded on the Ministry’s website on 31 May 2019 read: “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”

However, the final policy gives states the authority to choose and doesn’t impose any particular language.

“The three languages learned by children will be the choices of states, regions, and of course the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India,” the policy says.

On Curriculum & Foreign Universities

RSS had strongly opposed the provision to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in the country, – a suggestion which fell on deaf ears, and is a key highlight of the policy.

RSS had emphasised on including “ancient Indian knowledge” which the NEP has done but has also clearly specified that such information will be incorporated in “an accurate and scientific manner”.

The RSS affiliate bodies Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas had also insisted on inclusion of music and folk arts in the curriculum, stressing on foundation courses on Bharat-centric values and compulsory community service, which have all been factored in the policy.

RSS affiliates told The Indian Express that they are satisfied with the NEP.

Balmukund Pande, Sangathan Mantri of Akhil Bhartiya Itihas Sankalan Yojna told the publication, “Whatever suggestions I gave, more than 80 percent of them have been accepted. I don’t want to tell you which of my suggestions were not accepted.”

(With inputs from Hindustan Times and The Indian Express)

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