DNA of Nationalism isn't Toxic: RSS
CHENNAI:Talking nationalism to the average Indian is hindered by an error in communication dogging both central parties, said former Union minister Pallam Raju, wrapping up a charged session on whether India’s education system is nurturing nationalism, at the ThinkEdu conclave here on Friday. Raju said, “When the BJP talks about nationalism it is considered Right Wing, and when the Congress does it, people think we’re pandering to the minorities. Both parties mean well, but we’re just not communicating it well enough.”
Moderated by the incisive and thought-provoking Shankkar Aiyar, the debate over our ‘excessively globalised’ education system saw the participation of RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale and SASTRA University dean (planning and development), Dr S Vaidhyasubramaniam. For his part, Vaidhyasubramaniam defined nationalism along three parameters — calling it a holy relationship that ensures an individual’s loyalty to the state. One of the barriers holding us back from embracing the nationalistic spirit that we ought to possess was lack of confidence, he said. “Even at the primary level, it is considered an achievement if students want to leave India. Are we providing them enough to kindle a spirit of nationalism? We need to integrate self-confidence among students about our potential and history of Indian values.”
Explaining how our spirit of nationalism — stemming from our rich history of pioneering research and development in medicine, science, astronomy and others fields — has all but vanished because of this system, he said, “This system of education has injected a virus (into us) that anything nationalistic is taboo. It is essential for our growth and though education hasn’t killed it, it has not helped it. Such education deserves to be condemned.”
Hosabale went on to illustrate how this nationalism had gradually been obscured at various levels. “Our ancient scientists have done experiments, documented it, researched it and left it for us. Now, even Sanskrit is taught in English. In this country, an MA Sanskrit graduate cannot speak even two sentences in Sanskrit,” he said and added, “We are all speaking in an alien language as if we don’t have our own language. We have all become Americans. This is slow poisoning of our minds. Education today is without traditions and roots — we have been led astray.” The apathy towards nationalism was evident because medical boards refused to include traditional Indian medicines in their ‘allopathy’ syllabus, he added.
A key functionary in the RSS framework, Hosabale said there is “substantial interest” among young Indians, according to a 10-year-old survey, but the education system has disregarded it. He said their brand of nationalism wasn’t Right Wing propaganda.