Yogi Adityanath has not even finished an year of his government in Uttar Pradesh, but a saffronisation drive is evident in the school education system of the state. The state govt. has directed all schools to organise Bhagwat Gita based chanting competitions.
The directive from the additional chief secretary of the education department has gone to all the joint directors of education of all eleven divisions in the State who in turn have written to all the district school inspectors to ensure that the competition is held by December 10. Surprisingly the district education inspectors have been directed to ensure that such competition is held in all kinds of schools including the government schools, government aided schools and thousands of private schools functioning in each of the 75 districts of the State. The state-level competition will be held in Lucknow on December 28 and the finalists will be felicitated by Yogi Adityanath at an event on December 29 in honour of Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
The decision comes as part of the series of attempts of the Yogi government to saffronize the education system as well as the outlook of everything official. It started with the ubiquitious school bag – a thing that every child carries to school every day. Three months after coming to power, the Yogi government decided to change the colour of school bags to saffron. The Basic Education Department of Uttar Pradesh replaced school bags carrying former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s photograph with saffron-coloured bags.
The government turned everything from official booklets and awards to buses and I-cards, saffron. First, certificates of Laxman and Rani Laxmi Bai Awards to sportspersons in the state were made saffron. The certificates had saffron background and the booklet which had the details of the awardees were also saffron.
Both the booklets which Adityanath government had released, one to mark 100 days of governance and the other to mark 6 months, were saffron in colour. Buses of the rural State transport service were painted saffron.
Such was the saffron zeal that the government replaced the blue coloured straps of identity cards of all the state secretariat employees with saffron straps.
These probably were the initial attempts to turn what was visible of all things official into saffron. After these moves, now the directive has been sent to all schools to organise chanting competitions based on Bhagwat Gita.
“I have received instructions that a singing competition based on Gita Rahasya, a book of commentary on Bhagwat Gita written by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, should be organised. The 10 singers or troupes which will take part in the competition should be felicitated at the state level event organised on December 29th being held in the honour of Bal Gangadhar Tilak by honourable chief minister,” said Sanjay Agarwal, additional chief secretary, secondary and higher education department in his letter addressed to the directors of education of all the 11 divisions.
Later the official communication by the divisional level officials regarding the event made no mention of Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
The letter written by Anjana Goel, joint director (education), Bareilly division, to the district education officers of Bareilly division which includes Bareilly, Badaun, Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur, said, “You have been directed to ensure that a competition first at the district level be held and names of three singers/troupe be short-listed and sent so that a similar competition be held at divisional level among 12 names, on or before December 10.”
According to the official communication every student studying in government, government-aided and private schools of all boards can take part in the competition. The State government asked the schools to bear the expenses for the Bhagwat Gita chanting competition.
While this may be the first blatant move to saffronise the education system, but given the nature of the BJP governments, one can expect many more such directives in the near future which make no contribution to enhance and improve the dilapidated situation of the State education system.