Catholic Union, Christian Council decry saffronisation: Karnataka ban on English language schools condemned


BHOPAL (India), September 22: Dr John Dayal, Member of the National Integration Council of the Government of India, has decried the fresh wave of saffronisation sweeping Karnataka, Gujarat and some other states, and in particular, the effort made in Karnataka to communalize history and politicize education. In a statement issued in Bangalore on behalf of the All India Catholic Union, of which he is National president, and the All India Christian Council as its Secretary General, Dr. Dayal focused on the Education policy in Karnataka, the absolutely unnecessary attack on the freedom fighter Tipu Sultan by a state minister, and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi`s religious engineering which injures the identity of Jains and Buddhists apart from his threat to Christianity. Dr. Dayal said love for the mother tongue, or even for the State official language, is not chauvinism unless it is professed in a manner that disregards the fate of millions. Kannada is a rich and lovely language, and an integral part of the Indian cultural heritage. It should, of course, be taught in schools and could be the language of instruction wherever possible. But to evoke an old and controversial law suddenly and derecognize overnight thousands of schools teaching English smacks of fanaticism, and governance verging on the maverick. English is an important global language, and for the Dalits and poor of India, it is the only vehicle that can take them to growth and prosperity by qualifying them for the emerging markets. India, particularly the southern States have human resource as the main asset, and nothing must be done which impoverishes this asset, Dr pointed out. He said the uncalled for attack on Tipu Sultan by Karnataka Higher education minister Shankaramurthy seems to smack of the same chauvinism, and under the tutelage of the Sangh Parivar, makes no bones about targeting the minorities. At a time when indigenous kings and princelings, some of whose descendants are Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), chief ministers, were selfishly aligning themselves with the British imperial forces, Tipu had the courage and the skills to challenge the English military might. Even in the United Kingdom, he remains a symbol of Indian nationalism. Dr. Dayal said in Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has carried out his saffronisation to its final limit. His new rules under the anti-conversion act originally passed in March 2003 are anti-people, highly discriminatory and divisive. Under the rules, Buddhism and Jainism are regarded as `denominations of Hinduism`, despite fundamental differences in the basic tenets of each of these religions, and protests from the communities that they are being robbed of their identity. He said that his colleagues in Gujarat have pointed out that the clause permitting Christians & Protestants, and then again, Shias & Sunnis to convert from one to another and vice-versa, is ridiculous. There seems to be a sinister agenda to create mutual suspicion and, therefore, division among the denominations of particular religions. Dr. Dayal suggested Modi and his colleagues could do well to provide rehabilitation to the thousands of people who have been affected by the recent disasters caused by man-made floods and the widespread epidemics that are taking a severe toll all across the State. And, of course, Gujarat still thirsts for justice after the carnage of 2002.

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