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In Rajasthan, business students to read ancient Indians, not foreign scholars

Priyata Brajabasi | Updated on: 9 June 2017, 20:03 IST
(Arya Sharma/Catch News)

A few months after the Rajasthan University in Jaipur introduced Indian scriptures and philosophy as a part of its business management and commerce curriculum, the commerce faculty at Maharaja Ganga Singh University in Bikaner has followed suit.

The university has included excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Vedas, in addition to concepts by thinkers like Kautilya, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi as part of its commerce and business administration courses.

This has come at the cost of foreign scholars like Robert Owen, Mark Parker, Oliver Sheldon and James Burnham.

Logic behind the move

At the Rajasthan University, the changes in the curriculum were made in four courses – Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM), Master of International Business (MIB) and Master of Commerce in Business Administration. At the Maharaja Ganga Singh University, on the other hand, the changes have been introduced only in the Master of Commerce in Business Administration course.

Major Dr Ashok Kumar Sharma, member of the business administration faculty at the Maharaja Ganga Singh University, told Catch that the university will soon implement the changes in other business courses as well. He added that the changes are been made to “highlight the contributions of Indian thinkers and scholars”.

Navin Mathur, professor of Business Administration at the Rajasthan University, told Catch: “This move does not imply that we are rejecting or undermining foreign principles and theories. But the truth is that many western philosophies have been borrowed from Indian scriptures. We want our students to understand the origins of many of the philosophies studied by them, which lie in this country.”

Asked how these inclusions would benefit business students, Mathur added: “What people don't realise is that there are many things a commerce student can learn from ancient Indian scriptures. Kautilya taught us about economics and statecraft. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita taught us about managerial skills; Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi preached about inclusive models of growth. The Vedas teaches us ethics; business and commerce cannot be unethical. We must not undermine our own great scholars and thinkers.

“So far, we have given emphasis to western thought; we must promote Indian thought. This year, students of the Department of Business Administration are writing dissertations and making presentations on Gita, Vivekananda and Gandhi. In depth study of these subjects will encourage Indian value system along with management skills.”

Saffronisation by state govt?

Are these decisions an example of the saffronisation of education at the behest of the BJP government in Rajasthan?

State Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma certainly seems to think so. She said: “By removing foreign authors from the course, students will be deprived of the text that is read globally and internationally. The theories accepted around the world should have not been removed.

“Universities in Rajasthan are now promoting RSS ideology among students. This is the BJP's ploy to saffronise the Indian education system. Soon, these will be implemented in other states as well.”

However, responding to these allegations, Prof. Mathur said these had not been forced upon the universities by the state government.

“This move has been made keeping in mind suggestions by faculty members and the board of directors of the universities. There has been no government involvement,” he said.

First published: 9 June 2017, 20:03 IST
Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

Priyata thinks in words and delivers in pictures. The marriage of the two, she believes, is of utmost importance. Priyata joined the Catch team after working at Barcroft Media as a picture desk editor. Prior to that she was on the Output Desk of NDTV 24X7. At work Priyata is all about the news. Outside of it, she can't stay far enough. She immerses herself in stories through films, books and television shows. Oh, and she can eat. Like really.