Lord Macaulay?s, while delivering his speech in British Parliament on February 2, 1835, said: ?I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief.
?Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation?.
Unfortunately Macaulay has been prophetic and proved right, going by the form and content of the present education system as well as the methodology adopted to impart teaching in the country. Instead of reforming the education system with a view to create men of good character an integrity on the basis of moral values of our nation, independent India decided to ape the West that has led to the creation of Zombies.
So long as value oriented way of life and knowledge remained the aims of our education, large-heartedness, love, courage, power, humility and a sense of national commitment remained the hallmarks of the personality of Indians. Since the departure of the values from the abode of education, we Indians have become faithless and aimless.
If the absence of morals and ethics on the basis of ancient time-tested value system in our educational system is the root cause of degeneration and decay, then the only panacea is the introduction of the morals in education – robust, meticulous and comprehensive ? vigorously and zealously. Education is not merely making a human being literate and make them money-earning machines. Education must make every one of us feel proud of our nation, its heritage, custom, tradition, its glorious past with a view to make Bharat'sfuture brighter and better, with a spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood among all section and strata of society.
The demand for introduction of morals and ethics in educational system is not new. Way back in 1948, the University Education Commission had said, ?The possibilities of including religious and moral studies in the academic syllabi of the universities be explored.? In 1953, the Secondary Education Commission had said that, ?The commission went on to advocate that this implicit education must be strengthened by properly organized instruction given at school.? The sub-committee of MPs in 1967 had said that ?cultivation of moral, social and spiritual values are one of the most important and urgent reforms needed to transform the existing system of education.?
In fact, the draft paper on national policy on education of 1979 had clearly stated that the ?moral education should form part of the content through the inter-related curricular and co-curricular programmes in all subjects and should be the responsibility of all teachers and the entire institution.? This draft policy had heavily depended on the recommendations made by Kothari Commission (1964-66) and Sri Prakasha Committee (1959), both were appointed by the Congress government headed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Nehru'sgrandson, Rajiv Gandhi went a step forward and while enunciating national policy on education in 1986 said, ?the growing concern over the erosion of essential values and increasing cynicism in society has brought to focus the need for readjustment in the curriculum in order to make education a forceful tool for the cultivation of social and moral values.? However, just like Nehru who did not live up to his words, ?India'stryst with destiny?, his grandson, Rajiv Gandhi too did not make any positive contribution effectively to usher in a radical change in the educational system.
Unfortunately, introduction of moral and ethical values in education is being mis-interpreted as religious education and the pseudo-secular forces, Left and Kept intellectuals do not waste time to criticize those who advocate introduction of moral values in education. They cry that education is being Hinduised and secularism is in danger!
Unsure of what they are, where they stand and enamoured by the glamour of the West, today'syouth too fall prey to the machinations of the pseudo-secular forces on one hand and market and consumeristic forces on the other. The education system sans moral and ethical values has produced such youth who run down one'sown mother land, nay, they take pride in running down their own country.
The dangerous development of such an educational system is the setting up of perversion in the mindset of the so-called intellectuals. The basic perversion – in the concept of nationhood, what constitutes a nation, history, culture, heritage, customs and value-system ? has been at the root of all other perversions in the Indian political, economic, cultural, social, traditional and educational lexicon and consequently in the mind-set of the ?modern? India.
It is essentially, nay, imperative, indeed inevitable to correct this basic distortion and perversion for which radical transformation of the education system is pre-requisite. The present-day generation, the students must be told through education that key to genuine development is self-assertion, as an Indian, and as a Hindu, because India is nothing if not Hindu. If Indians fail to assert as Hindus ? that is the central tradition ? we will fail in every attempt. We will fail in our political, economic, social and cultural endeaavours.
Education – with moral and ethical values – must – and will – result in cultural self-assertion, as it is a prime element in the creation of a stable political and economic identity, creation of a generation of morally upright, ethically correct, intellectually vibrant, forward looking, progressive people with a positive bent of mind. If we disown our culture ? as the present day students do due to Macauly system ? we disown ourselves, ultimately ending up as a big failure. That is what India under pseudo-seculars have become ? a society lacking in self confidence and always running after ?modern? West for everything from ideas to fashion and from capital to technology.
?A week is a long time in politics? said British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. If a week is a long time, then 2928 weeks must be like an eternity. That is the distance in time India has travelled ever since we became free in 1947. We came out of the political yoke of the British. But we are drawing ourselves more towards the cultural yoke of the West. For most part of the 61 years, the country has been ruled by Congress and its ilk of pseudo-secular forces. It is high time that the country is brought out of the ?cultural yoke of the West,? The only way is the ensure a radical transformation in the educational system, the only mantra for Bharat to realise its true potential.
(The writer is senior BJP leader, Karnataka, and former Higher Education Minister. He is currently, Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Board.)