Jammu: Opposition on Tuesday cautioned the Education Minister ‘not to fall prey to any vicious attempts of saffronisation of education in J&K as is being witnessed in India.
In his statement in a discussion over grants to education department, National Conference (NC) legislator, Ali Mohammad Sagar, told the Legislative Assembly that Hindu nationalist BJP was making “inroads in education”.
“It is a vicious step and is not good for India,” Sagar told the house. “There are steps being taken where roads and educational institutions are being renamed,” he cited example of Akbar-road in Delhi.
“Where are we going? Which developments are taking place,” he asked. “This is vandalization of civilisation and education.”
Sagar recalled as why J&K state had joined the union of India in 1947. “Our leaders in 1947 had expectations from secular India,” he said of late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. “But India is dividing in the name of education and culture.”
He said that it was unbecoming of Indian state when there are demands that a chapter on former Indian prime minister, Pt JL Nehru, be removed from books. “Ye kaysi girawat aaye hai,” he wondered. “Which education set-up are we planning?”
Cautioning education minister, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, of not falling prey to such a “vicious set-up”, Sagar told the lower house of state legislature: “like Haseeb Drabu surrendered before Delhi in extending central GST to J&K state, education minister too can be asked to allow centralisation of education.”
“Keep my words in mind, you will recall them in future,” Sagar told education minister.
He said that for better education of students in state “people have run movements for it”.
Sagar reminded the house of his school days. “I studied in a Jama’at-e-Islami run school where Hakeem Ghulam Nabi and Nowshehri sahab taught me. I was given moral education which led to character building but that is missing today… we have left that thing now… system bikhar raha hai,” he told the house.
However, he said, “if education minister has free hand in his government, then there will be improvement.”
Lambasting the government for “mess” in University of Kashmir (KU), he asked, “What is happening there?”
“No one from outside is allowed to enter the campus; people from a particular community, and relatives of KU employees are only engaged, even though without any technical know-how,” he said of the recruitments at KU.
“You have huge responsibility,” he told the minister Bukhari. “We have developed myopic thinking… DGP every day says there is drug addiction; students are taking drugs, how will students take it.”
Sagar also suggested treasury benches to “break the afsar shahi”. “Run the system on your own, not by what your officers say; take your colleagues in confidence,” he told the PDP-BJP minister. “Some PDP and BJP ministers have made their offices that of their Halqa presidents,” he alleged.
The statement of Sagar on Saffronisation of education by BJP pushed MoS Education, Priya Sethi, to seek expunging the “word of Saffronisation” from Assembly records. “We can’t answer such questions which are in the Parliament,” the BJP’s nominee MLA Sethi told the house. Bukhari was sitting writing the suggestions and critique of MLAs.
However, Sagar instantly stood up: “expunge ka to sawaal hi paida nahi hota,” he told the house. “Kissi nay yahan certificate day n ka theka nahi rakha hai.”
“I have every right to criticise any policy of India as a rightful citizen,” he replied to Sethi who sat silently. “Aur humein kissi leaders ki meharbaani nahi chahiye.”
Seconding Sagar, Communist legislator Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, told the house that education aimed at “creating an intellectual community to fulfil the basic requirement of a society and unify it fundamentally”.
“But there are divisive tendencies rapidly emerging in education sector as no unification is in sight,” Tarigami told the house. “Education is used as a tool to divide the society… on the basis of religion and faith,” he added.
He also said that education was betting “saleable and commercialised”. “It is becoming a sector only for rich and have-nots ki bus ki baat nahi.”
He said that people of Kashmir and Jammu region “see each other with suspicion”.
He suggested the government to evaluate academics and universities from some outside consultancy. “Universities have become centres of politics.”
“The students are most sufferers of internet sabotage and breakdown,” he told house. “Please take care of that,” he asked education minister.