A meeting of intellectuals and faith-based organizations have
urged the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to
keep off from imparting religious education of one religion
alone in government schools and government-aided schools in the
The meeting decided to meet the state Governor Ram Naresh Yadav
and ask him to uphold the Indian constitution. It also decided to
hold different types of protests in the state capital Bhopal and
all over the state to register their ire against the government’s
“We will also talk to all political parties to join the efforts to
safe guard the Indian Constitution from being diluted day by day”,
the organizers of the meeting said.
The meeting was jointly organized by Rashtriya Secular Munch and
Harmony Foundation to ponder and respond over the Chief Minister
Chouhan’s announcement to include compulsorily “Geeta Saar”
(summary of Hindu scripture Bhagwad Geeta) in schools syllabi in
the state run and aided by the state government.
It may be pointed out here that “The Bhagwad Geeta” ("Song of
God") is the essence of the Vedas and Upanishads, religious
scriptures of Hindus.
The meeting unanimously agreed to the proposal that it must reject
the proposal of the state Government out-rightly as it violates
the Indian Constitution’s secular credentials wherein it prohibits
to impart religious education in schools of any one religion
The meeting was convened by Fr. Anand Muttungal, secretary of the
Harmony Foundation, here on Saturday It was presided over by L. S. Herdenia, convenor of the Rashtriya Secular Munch.
The meeting responded strongly to the Chief Minister Chouhan’s
recent reported statement, “Hindu religious scripture Bhagwad
Geeta will be taught to all children in the schools, if anybody
feels hurt let him be”.
The Chief Minister made the announcement
while addressing a function of RSS run school at Indore. Chouhan, however, was unfazed by the opposition had reportedly
said nobody could find anything wrong with the teachings of the
Geeta which is a sacred text of Hindus.
Herdenia said that Chief Minister must respect the
Constitution which does not permit any religion to be taught in
the Government schools and schools run with the aid from the
government. The meeting collectively agreed to the proposal that
we must reject the proposal of the Government.
Madhya Pradesh Muslim Educational Society chairman Ibrahim Qureshi
said: “Teaching religion is the responsibility of the religious
communities. Government should not step into the realm of
religious education. Each religion should be taught by the
teachers of each religion or no religious education should be
imparted in the schools.”
Fr. Anand Muttungal, Catholic Church Spokesperson, said: “Teaching
only one religion can divide the society on religious grounds. So,
either teach important teachings of all religions or keep away
religion from education”.
Dr. Uday Jain, former Vice Chancellor Rewa University, stated that
the Chief Minister Chouhan has no power to dictate what is to be
taught in the schools. So, no religion should be brought to the
educational curriculum, he added.
Gyani Dileep Singh said, “the language used by Chief Minister is
very objectionable. India is a multi-religious state so all
religions should have a place. Teaching only one religion will
divide the children on religious grounds.”
Bahan B K Kiran of Brahma Kumari said that in place of religious
education we need to teach spiritual values that can change human
The other important persons who opposed the view of teaching
religion in the schools included: Prof. Zameeruddin, Adv. Sajid
Siddiqui, president of Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI),
MP unit, Anwar Safi, Krishn Chandra Mauli, Mukesh Varma, Deepak
Butt, Dr. S M Hasan, Bhushan Battacharya, John Antony, Shailendar
Shaili, Jitendra Tiwari, Raghuraj Singh, Palash Surjan, Masood
Khan, Dr. Rahul Sharma etc.
Meanwhile, criticising the move, Madhya Pradesh Congress
Committee, (MPCC), Media Department chairman Manak Agrawal said:
“India is a secular country where no one can be allowed to talk
like this.” The Congress was not opposed to the “Geeta Saar” as
such but wanted that teachings from the Quran, the Bible and the
Guru Granth Sahib should also be included in school courses.
Congress Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ajay Singh
said it was an attempt to saffronise the education system.
“Schools are not meant for doing “havans” or “Geeta Paath” and we
will oppose the move vociferously and also raise it in the State
Assembly,” Singh said.
The CM’s announcements also did not go down well with the
minorities in the State. Muslims and Christians also criticised
the move and said that the move was not as per the secular
character of the country.
Singh said the CM was in the habit of periodically making
announcements. He said that sometime back Chouhan had announced
with great fanfare that the name of Bhopal would be changed to
Bhojpal. He said the Chief Minister believes only in making
announcements and does not bother to look into their
He also said that Chouhan was doing all this to divert people’s
attention from the real problem of bad roads, shortage of power,
and plight of the farmers in the State.