Published: 25th September 2019
Bhagavad Gita has no place in secular Anna University: SFI, writers, teachers groups slam move
In a joint statement, the organisations said that this move will "dampen the educational growth of people with a scientific mindset"
Coming down heavily on Anna University's decision to include several Indian religious texts as reference material for their BTech IT curriculum, the All India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations, Tamil Nadu Science Forum, Students' Federation of India and the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers' Artists' Association condemned the move.
In a joint statement, they said that this move will "dampen the educational growth of people with a scientific mindset" and by including the Bhagavad Gita in their curriculum, Anna University "has degraded the quality of their curriculum."
The statement read, "Places of learning like schools, colleges and universities do not subscribe to any one religion. From a time when we understood everything under the sun, we have now begun questioning the very composition of the sun because of the power of science. If we leave things the way they are, science or engineering will never grow."
Criticising the need to bring religion into colleges of engineering or education of any sort, they said, "However, religion is solely based on faith. And people who practise religion say that faith is something that need not be scientifically proven. Now, in a place like Anna University, where scientific temper and the need to question everything are being taught to prescribe a book like the Bhagavad Gita which only one section of the population believes in, is unacceptable. This will make people belonging to other religions bitter. It will also dampen the educational growth of people with a scientific mindset. Perhaps there is a need to keep religious texts from all faiths in a theological institute. There is no need for this in a technical institute."
Reiterating the fact that it was possibly against the fabric of secularism, they stated, "India is a secular country. The Indian constitution encourages every citizen to develop a scientific and self-examining nature. Any secular government will not force a religious text on students in any college because it is against the law and the constitution."
Referring to the dwindling numbers of students opting for engineering year on year, they appealed, "With jobs for engineers on the decline, the interest to study engineering is slowly coming down. What we need is focus on new technologies and updated learning. Instead, by including the Bhagavad Gita in their curriculum, Anna University has degraded the quality of their curriculum."