Forget the books, teach them how to fight! RSS wants military education in all schools
If BJP would have been running the country in 1200 CE, Nalanda University would probably have been known not for the study of logic and philosophy, but for its students' martial adventures.
Also, the party believes that had the university imparted military training to its students, they would have beaten the hell out of Bakhtiar Khilji's army and prevented the destruction of the university.
This belief has reportedly inspired the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to nudge the Ministry of Human Resource Development to consider including military school elements in regular school curriculum.
The primary objective seems be – to promote discipline, fitness and patriotism among school-going children.
The ministry reportedly has the Sainik School model in mind which it wants to replicate it in the government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs).
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also reportedly been approached to push for its inclusion in the 20,000 odd private schools that are affiliated to the board's curriculum.
RSS' faith in military training
While the idea is still in its early stages, it won't be surprising if it becomes a reality soon. The implementation is unlikely to find much resistance given the RSS' deep faith in military education.
Arms training is an essential part of the over 50,000 shakhas that RSS runs daily across the country. Once a year, weapons are worshipped at Sangh congregations on Vijayadashmi and members take out parades in many cities brandishing lathis and swords.
The martial obsession comes from RSS' paranoia that Hindus are at war and all of them must be prepared to deal with an onslaught of marauders from other religions.
“We should give top priority to military education to students to make India strong,” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had said way back in 2012.
The event where Bhagwat was speaking was platinum jubilee celebrations of the Bhonsala Military School in Nashik. The founder of the school, BS Moonje, was a mentor to RSS founder KB Hedgewar.
Moonje was a president of the Hindu Mahasabha and believed strongly in the need for Hindus to militarise. He visited Italy, met Mussolini in 1931, saw how the fascists were militarily organised and came back with a lot of inspiration.
After returning to India, Moonje worked closely with Hedgewar in shaping the RSS and making military training compulsory for its volunteers.
Bajrang Dal, an offshoot of the Sangh Parivar, still runs military training camps, from where a lot of so-called gau rakshaks come out.
So, is it surprising that these gau-rakshaks have been found to be behind so many cases of attacks on Muslims and Dalits in the name of the cow in the last couple of years?
This training that these radical organisations swear by also appears to have been put to far sinister uses.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had named the Bhonsala school in its chargesheet in the 2008 Malegaon blasts probe. The charge-sheet claimed that the main accused in the blasts had taught at the school and conspiracy meetings were also held there. One of the main accused was Lt Col Srikant Purohit and he had also taught at the school.
Give them arms
Given this background, it is not surprising that the Sangh Parivar, through the BJP, may be trying to push for implementation across the country what it already practices within its fold.
The Parivar clearly wants logic and reasoning to be overshadowed by jingoism because it enables any force to brush all kinds of evil under the carpet of nationalism.
Early responses to the proposal are quite indicative of what many feel about it. Sample these tweets -
Why Sainik School? Why not convert them to Sakhas, straightaway?! https://t.co/x5O87H2L8g— Jay Ambadi (@jay_ambadi) July 21, 2017
I am from a Sainik School & I know for sure it can't be a model. Education is reason & inquiry, patriotism isn't. https://t.co/H4zSZQ54TR— Nadim Asrar (@_sufiyana_) July 21, 2017
In spite of their claim to be nationalists and revivalists, Parivar members have failed to take the right lessons even from India's past.
As one of the earliest universities of the world, Nalanda teaches us that India has valued education for a longer time than most parts of the world and the objective of that education was much greater than the limited boundaries of the RSS' worldview.