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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 39, New Delhi, Sept 11, 2021

Militarization of Shastric Hindu Texts | Arup Kumar Sen

Saturday 11 September 2021, by Arup Kumar Sen

The Major General, Subhash Sharan, made a public statement in Meerut in 2019: “Bhagavad Gita is a military manual and should be read by all the youngsters”. He recalled that the American Army had taken copies of Bhagavad Gita from India for their soldiers to be deployed in war-torn Iraq. To put it in his own words: “To motivate their soldiers, the Americans took 30,000 copes of Bhagavad Gita to teach them ‘Karma Yoga’, that is, the reason behind fighting a battle and engaging their enemy without thinking about the final outcome”. (See The Times of India, Meerut, June 22, 2019)

Very recently (September 5, 2021), Deccan Chronicle reported that the Indian armed forces may introduce Bhagavad Gita and Kautilya’s Arthashastra as part of the curriculum for officers. To put it in the words of the Report: “Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call, the Secunderabad-headquartered College of Defence Management (CDM) has started research on ancient Indian texts that are relevant to modern warfare and military statecraft and have recommended two ancient scripts – Bhagwad Gita and Arthashastra…Two senior officers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the broad conceptual and research work is ongoing but refused to give specific details.”

The above two narratives bear testimony to militarization of shastric Hindu texts in contemporary India.

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