Monday, July 23, 2012

Protest against direction to schools to buy book on festivals

Protest against direction to schools to buy book on festivals

Staff Reporter
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Members of the United Minorities Front staged a protest here on Saturday against the government for directing school libraries to buy Bharatiyara Habba Haridinagalu (Festivals of Indians), a 640-page book.
The book written by Sri Sri Rangapriya, a Sanskrit scholar and head of Asthangayoga Vijnana Mandiram here, makes a mention of only Hindu festivals and does not mention Ramzan, Christmas, Good Friday and Buddha Poornima. The Department of State Education Research and Training has directed government primary and high schools to buy at least one copy of the book for their libraries.
Condemning the move, Hanuman C. of the United Minorities Front, said: “This is saffronisation of education. The book gives an impression that no other community exists.”
Dalit Sangharsh Samiti secretary Mavalli Shankar said: “India is a multi-religious nation and the government should not try to scuttle this reality”. He added that the government is not following the Indian Constitution.
Convener of the Dalit Christian Federation Manohar Chandra Prasad said that this was an attempt to communalise children’s mind, and urged the State government to withdraw the direction given to school libraries to buy the book.http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/article3668694.ece

A book on ‘Indian’ festivals omits non-Hindu occasions

A book on ‘Indian’ festivals omits non-Hindu occasions

Mohit M. Rao
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It has been prescribed for school libraries across Karnataka
A reference book on festivals observed by ‘Indians,’ prescribed by the Karnataka government for school libraries across the State, carries in it only those observed by Hindus.
While 30 pages of ‘Bharatiyara Habba Haridinagalu’ (or Festivals of Indians) are dedicated to explaining Upakarma, there is not a single word on Ramzan, Good Friday, Buddha Purnima, or any non-Hindu festival celebrated in the country.
A December 2011 circular sent by the Directorate of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT) directs primary and high schools to buy at least one copy of the book for their library.
640 pages
At a voluminous 640 pages, the Kannada book written by Sri Sri Rangapriya, Sanskrit scholar and head of the Ashtangayoga Vijnana Mandiram, Hanumanthnagar, Bangalore, is priced at Rs. 500.
While the cover of the book primarily features Hindu iconography — the sage and the holy cow, ‘kalash’ (offerings given during a Hindu ritual), a temple gopura and devotees with hands joined in prayer — the rest of the book doesn’t deviate from the Hinduism theme.
‘Reflecting
Indian culture’
The DSERT, in its circular, describes the contents of the book as “reflecting Indian culture.”
Though the title says these are festivals celebrated by Indians, the book manages to cover only the major Hindu religious dates, 23 of them, besides mentioning birthdays of Hindu religious sages.
From festivals such as Ugadi, Ramanavami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Deepavali, Mahashivaratri and Akshaya Tritiya to lesser-known ones such as Subbraya Shrasthi and Rathasaptami, and even religious days observed primarily by the upper castes, such as Chathurmasa, Upakarma, Ananthapadmanabha Vrath and Narasimha Jayanti, are given detailed descriptions in the book.
Why is it that Ramzan, Id-ul-Fitr, Christmas, Good Friday, Buddha Purnima, Mahaveer Jayanti and Guru Nanak Jayanti find no place in the book, asks Nooruddin Salmar of the Dakshina Kannada Congress Minority Committee.
Talking to The Hindu , Mr. Salmar said the manner in which the order was quietly circulated, pointed to an increasing trend of saffronisation of education and emphasis on the Hindutva agenda seen under the Bharatiya Janata Party government.
“Aren’t Muslims, Christians, Jains, Parsis and animist tribes also Indians? Is it right to teach schoolchildren that only Hindus are Indians,” he asked.
Charge denied
Denying a ‘saffron tint’ to the book, DSERT Director Rama Rao said the book was chosen after the directorate deemed it “educationally suitable” for students.
“All the festivals mentioned in the book are celebrated pan-India. I don’t see why anyone has a problem with the title. One has to look at it with an open mind, and we believe the book to have adequate information for students,” Mr. Rao said.
Other books welcomed
Claiming that the author, perhaps, did not have information on other religious festivals, Mr. Rao said the DSERT would recommend books written by scholars from other religions if they were submitted to the directorate.http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article3664275.ece

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bihar to recuse teachers from non-teaching jobs

Bihar to recuse teachers from non-teaching jobs

Teachers will now not be given assignments like survey and data collection works

Patna: Bihar will no more engage school teachers in non-teaching assignments like survey and data collection works, an official said Saturday. The decision comes after protests by thousands of teachers and experts that such tasks take a toll on the quality of teaching.
"The school teachers will not be engaged in various kinds of periodic census and survey works to be assigned either by the central or the state government for the collection of data on different kinds of social, economic, health and other activities," Planning and Development Department (PDD) Principal Secretary Vijay Prakash said.
"School teachers will be free from census and survey works. This is a positive move to improve equality of education in the state," Prakash said.
The government's decision comes after complaints of teacher organisations and educational experts that teachers' engagement in non-teaching works hampers teaching in schools, he said.http://www.igovernment.in/site/bihar-spare-teachers-non-teaching-jobs?utm_source=newsletter-core&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20120702