Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Teachers' Orientation Programme, Or Government-Sponsored Fatalism?

A group of 93 teachers working in various government schools of Punjab have just returned from a six-day orientation programme at the Brahma Kumaris’ Om Shanti Retreat Centre, Gurgaon. It is presumably the first batch in a long line that will eventually include the majority of teachers from the state. Each teacher was paid a lump sum of Rs. 2500 in addition to Rs. 100 daily.

The organisers of the programme claim that the OSRC has been recognised as a Regional Resource Centre for teachers' training by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. According to them, several other states have also been getting their teachers trained in "value education" at the Centre.

However, the teachers who have received "training" have a rather disturbing story to tell. According to them, the so-called orientation has nothing to do with pedagogical competencies and rational thinking. To the contrary, it is an exercise in ideological immersion of the most retrogressive kind. The participants are introduced to the trajectories of the soul in this and others worlds. They are counselled to turn inwards and tend their private souls since the world will any way proceed on its own course, no matter what they do. Therefore, the best course for them is to learn to fatalistically accept economic disasters, terrorist strikes and ecological catasprophes.

Both the state and the central governments owe an explanation to the people for this dangerously silly misadventure. Can government resources and personnel be used to serve sectarian mystical mumbo-jumbo under a Constitution that commits the governments to the promotion of a scientific temper? Will the government sponsor the “orientation” of its employees by other sects and groups too, including the various deras and the so-called non-political wings of different parties?

Perhaps there has been an enriching handshake somewhere behind the scenes, because the amount of money involved is potentially enormous. Or it could be the misplaced zeal of a bureaucrat or minister going overboard in devoutness and offering to “officially” enlarge his or her spiritual shepherd’s fold. Or it could a brazen attempt by the ruling classes to use the glamour of mysticism and spiritualism to divert the people’s attention from the real conditions of their existence. The persons responsible for this insult to the Constitution must be identified and rewarded for their wonderful idea of catching the very nation-builders and trying to indoctrinate them against the whole spirit of modernity, reason and secularism.

Rajesh Kumar Sharma


baramasa said...

Dear Rajesh,

This sounds just the right kind of thing one expects to hear on an auspicious day like this-- the birthday of the Father of the Nation.


Indu said...

it is expected of this government n this kind of system. They dont owe any explanation for this silly misadventure. If they do they also owe explanation for the fake encounters, arrests in the name of terrorism, ethinc cleansing in the name of religion,
On the other hand, we the people, the sane human being owe an explanation to each other how we allowed such things in our presence.
It is our duty to prevent such misdeeds as we are the pillars of secularism, we are the nation-builders notthis rotten system!!

Anonymous said...

The item on religious indoctrination makes dismal reading.It is covert moves like these that breed communalism and religious fascism.We need to be aware of the dangers.