Six months after JNU junked a proposal to introduce short-term courses in ‘Indian Culture’ and ‘Yoga’ for propagating spiritual and mythological traditions and establishing Indian values in the world, the varsity has decided to reconsider the plan.
A decision in this regard was taken last week at a meeting of the university’s Academic Council (AC), its statutory decision making body.
"A draft of the proposed course structure was rejected in the AC last year. The matter was again raised in the recent meeting. There was opposition from certain teachers while some favoured it. Ultimately it was decided to reconsider the same," a council member said.
"Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar has directed the departments to rework on the proposed course structure and place the same before the AC," the member added.
The proposal to introduce three short-term courses in these subjects had come last year against the backdrop of right-wing organisations, including BJP’s ideological mentor RSS, insisting on propagation of culture in educational campuses to promote India’s rich heritage and restore its cultural identity.
Following various communications from the HRD Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC), the varsity had last year circulated a draft of three courses among various schools and departments of JNU for their feedback.
The proposal was, however, rejected by the AC in November.
According to the earlier draft, the course on Indian culture aimed at expounding the importance of the country’s culture as well as exploring the etymological, social, spiritual, cultural and mythological aspects and establishing Indian values in the world.
"The course will contain the texts, thoughts and traditions of different cultures and include things like religious systems in Indian culture among others. Besides, it will have portions from Vedas and selections from epics and Jatakas and suggestions on readings of Hindu epics like the Ramayana," the draft read.
"There will be basic study of Indian culture to establish Indian rituals and values in the world and derive ways from these sources to make human life better," it said.
The document further said that Indian culture cannot be understood without the help of "Indian literature, which are generally written by sages".
It also suggested reading of the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita from Gita Press Gorakhpur (the official press that prints Gita in Uttar Pradesh), Acharya Jaidev’s Vedic Sanskriti, Tulsi Ram’s Vedas, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s Sanskriti ke Char Adhyaya, among others.