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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 14, April 6, 2024

Schools with a slant get big | Humra Quraishi

Saturday 6 April 2024, by Humra Quraishi


4 April 2024

The most startling and disturbing news of the week: Between 2022 and 2023 the Centre awarded 40 Sainik School agreements to educational institutes linked with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindutva organisations and leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party or its allies, analysis of the Right to Information replies by The Reporters’ Collective has shown.

Several details follow, which are adequate to make any concerned citizen more than worried. Also, not to be overlooked a connected fact: a significant percentage of the Sainik schools’ students opt for the Indian armed forces with this fact in the background or foreground, wouldn’t the slanted and biased and communally laced teachings affect the very secular atmosphere prevailing in the armed forces.

Where are we heading? Not to be overlooked the fact that about four years back, in 2019, news reports had more than indicated that the RSS was planning to set up its own Sainik school for young students in Western Uttar Pradesh Also, not to be overlooked reports of the arms training camps organized by the Hindutva brigades for its cadres.

And though news reports do carry what’s taught in the RSS and BJP-backed schools, nobody dares to even question or query. A whole generation of ‘Muslim haters’ seems to be in the making because of hate and distorted facts getting relayed at the school level. In fact, years back when I had first heard Delhi University professor Nalini Taneja talk in an open forum of what’s taught in the RSS-run schools, it was a shocker. Shocker after shocker after she read aloud several of the provocative passages from the textbooks taught in the RSS-run schools…poison dripping from each one of those sentences, enough to inculcate hatred in young minds for the ‘other’ - the Muslims of the country.

Nalini Taneja had cited from the texts taught in the schools with RSS links: The history texts are nothing but the unadulterated illustration of the RSS view of history and use of history for its sectarian agenda - Aryans are the original inhabitants of India, Indian civilization is essentially Aryan civilization, the ancient period of history when Hindu rulers ruled was golden and India had enormous advantages during this period. The coming of the Mughals brought darkness, cruelty… Hedgewar, Gowalkar, and Savarkar are amongst the greatest freedom fighters. Muslims as a community are traitors. Only Hinduism is synonymous with nationalism …Also, caste, child marriages and sati are defended …Muslims, Christians and Parsees are all called foreigners …Urdu is referred to as a foreign language.

And the former Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University, Professor Roop Rekha Verma, minced no words detailing the communal happenings in the academic institutions in Uttar Pradesh, and the far-reaching consequences. She had focused on not just the text but also on this very vital aspect: the manner in which teachers talk against the Dalits and Muslims in classrooms.

And in 2016, during an interview given to me, the former IIT Mumbai Professor, Ram Puniyani, detailed the teachings in the RSS-run schools: “RSS has single teacher schools, Ekal Vidyalaya and bigger ones are the Shishu Mandirs. The pattern of authoritarianism between teachers-taught, and senior-junior is very rigid. The main values which are promoted are those of conformism. Along with this, the books in these schools are structured around the mythical history of the superiority of Hinduism, that all was well with Hindus till Muslim aggressors came, caste is presented as having given stability to society, Muslim Kings are presented as cruel and so on… The hatred for religious minorities is drilled into the children.” 

If this carries on, one can imagine what lies ahead. After all, if young children are taught communally twisted text at the school stage, they will grow up with biases. Mind you, offshoots of this hate unleash, affecting not just human forms but also the very Literature and historical and school texts.

Here let me also hasten to add that much against the BJP-RSS propaganda, Muslims of this country are to date extremely, extremely wary of any of the moves of the Right-Wing. They do realize that the so-called ‘concern’ shown by the RSS-BJP for their ‘Muslim sisters’ in raising the Triple Talaq issue is nothing short of political tactics and fraudulent moves. After all, the Right-wing brigades miss no opportunity when it comes to targeting the Muslim community along any of the set alibis, ranging from beef to marriages or divorces to madrasa education. Yes, just about any possible alibi!
Eerie build-ups. Perhaps, it would be naive to expect anything else but these build-ups, as the Right-Wing agenda seems to be in full- swing. Well into its implementation stage.


I have been sitting wondering: why only a few of the tainted political Who’s Who are arrested and jailed when according to the findings of the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) - As many as 225 sitting Lok Sabha MPs have criminal cases against them. This constitutes 44 per cent of the total sitting MPs in the outgoing Lok Sabha.

Also, this brings me to write that the conditions of the jails and those jailed ought to be reviewed by an independent watchdog group or individuals, as all doesn’t seem too well. If prisoners are expressing apprehensions of getting poison-laced food, then it sure is a serious matter and cannot be bypassed. Not to be overlooked the serious health issues they face.


Filmmaker-writer-commentator-You-Tuber, Vinod Pande, seems an amazing man. In his early 80s, he’s going strong. His latest novel, Minister’s Mistress (Reindeer Books/Become Shakespeare) is a racy read. Pande dwells on human relationships and complex build-ups. As in his films, his writings revolve around human emotions and wants and the then the end result of this rather lethal combination

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