NEW DELHI: Six months after junking a proposal to introduce short-term courses in Indian culture and yoga, Jawaharlal Nehru University has decided to reconsider it.
A decision in this regard was taken last week at a meeting of the university’s Academic Council, its statutory decision-making body.
“A draft of the proposed course structure was rejected by the committee November last year. The matter was again raised in the recent meeting. There was opposition from certain teachers while some favoured it. Ultimately it was decided to reconsider the proposal” a council member said.
“Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar has directed the departments to rework on the proposed course structure and place it before the committee,” the member added.
The proposal to introduce three short-term courses in these subjects had come against the backdrop of right-wing organisations, including the BJP’s ideological mentor RSS, insisting on the “propagation of culture” on educational campuses to promote India’s rich heritage and “restore its cultural identity”.
Following various communications from the HRD Ministry and the University Grants Commission, JNU last year circulated a draft of three courses among its various schools and departments for their feedback.
According to the earlier draft, the course on Indian culture “will contain the texts, thoughts and traditions of different cultures and include things like religious systems in Indian culture, among others. Besides, it will have portions from Vedas and selections from epics and Jatakas and suggestions on readings of Hindu epics like the Ramayana”. The document further said that Indian culture couldn’t be understood without the help of “Indian literature, which is generally written by sages”. It also suggested reading of the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur; Acharya Jaidev’s Vedic Sanskriti; Tulsi Ram’s Vedas and Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s Sanskriti ke Char Adhyaya.
In another development, the university’s Executive Council cleared Akbar Chaudhary, who had stepped down as students’ union president two years ago following allegations of sexual harassment, of all charges.