ET: The writer is a New Delhi-based broadcast journalist, contributor to the magazine, The Diplomat and he tweets @destinydefier
The Hindu right-wing government in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh finally withdrew the order that aimed to introduce lessons from the religious text, Bhagavad Gita, into school curriculums.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — the ruling party of Madhya Pradesh — came under heavy criticism from Muslim organisations and secular political parties, for its attempt to alter the secular character of the Constitution. Members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) blamed the government for the communalisation of the school textbooks, attempting to indoctrinate young minds and sowing the seeds of prejudice among communities. The Congress Party also attacked the BJP for tampering with the secular spirit of the country.
Previously, the BJP-led government in Delhi that ruled from 1998 to 2004, made serious attempts to change school textbooks and rewrite history. The whole idea was to teach younger Indians a history which did not reflect the diversity of India and portrayed it as a purely Hindu nation.
Let us not forget that in the Gujarat riots of 2002 — where thousands of innocent Muslims were killed by Hindu fanatics — the indoctrinated tribal people played a prominent role. Moreover, the BJP’s presence in Gujarat, for 15 years or more, has communalised the state to such an extent that any debate about the country’s plurality receives derision from middle and upper classes of society. The western Indian state has become a laboratory of radical Hindus.