Haryana Education Minister Explains Why Bhagavad Gita Should Be Taught In Schools

15/07/2015 8:37 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Protesters belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)-- World Hindu organisation, hold a copy of the of one of Hinduism's most important and scared texts, the Bhagavad Gita during a protest against a court case in Russia seeking to ban the text, outside the Russian consulate in Mumbai on December 21, 2011. The protestors condemned the court case in Russia seeking to ban the 'Bhagavad Gita As It Is' -- a translation of and commentary on the original text by Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the international Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON. The case filed by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk claims that the the renowned translation of the text, first published in 1968, titled 'Bhagavad Gita As It Is' is 'extremist literature' and should join Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf on a list of banned books. AFP PHOTO/ Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

CHANDIGARH—Hitting out at those opposing the BJP government's plans to introduce the Bhagavad Gita in Haryana school curriculum, the BJP-run state's Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma on Wednesday said the scripture is not a religious book and that its teachings will be part of the moral education of the students.

"To those objecting to teaching Gita, let me tell you that it is not a religious book. 192 nations took part in the International Yoga Day on June 21, out of which 47 were Muslim countries. The Deoband (seminary) and others also said that Gita is not a religious book. It is knowledge, science; it is curiosity, it is solution, Gita is life," Sharma said.

"Gita contains the dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. We decided to included Gita teaching in curriculum as part of moral education," Sharma said while addressing a meet-the-press programme in Chandigarh. He was responding to charges from various quarters including from some opposition parties that the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government in Haryana was pursuing saffronisation of the state education system.

"Now, whether we are saffronising or not, I want to state that Nalanda and Takshila were great centres of learning in ancient times in our country and students from around the world used to come to study in these centres. Yesterday, two intellectuals from Germany met me in Rishikesh and they hailed our decision of going ahead with the inclusion of Gita in the curriculum," he said.

Sharma further claimed German Orientalist Max Mueller had once got copies of the Vedas into Germany and placing all the four Vedas on his head, he had danced for 30 minutes. "He was overjoyed to have got such wealth of knowledge from the Vedas," he said.

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