It seems like most of the non-BJP governed states are going back to the roots of the Indian Constitution.
What is making the non-BJP states introduce the Constitution in the school curriculum? Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Kerala are the states that have made the reading the Constitution compulsory in schools. Here are the details:
It seems like most of the non-Bharatiya Janata Party governed states are going back to the roots of the Indian Constitution. Delhi was amongst the first states to introduce classes on the Constitution as a part of the curriculum in Delhi government schools. The Aam Aadmi Party government had started the initiative in July 2019. Other states such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala have also joined the non-BJP states club which have made the Constitution a compulsory part of the government school curriculum. Latest to join the club are Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Both states are governed by the Congress party.
But what is triggering this initiative? Former MP and Congress spokesperson, Meem Afzal told Asiaville that because incumbent BJP is trying to “undermine the Constitution”, understanding the values of the Constitution has become even more important. ‘‘It is important for the youth of the nation to know about the Constitutional rights and values. The preamble and Constitution reading that has been made compulsory in schools is very much required especially when the BJP is undermining the Constitution.” He said the Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh governments decision was not a political gimmick.
The Congress spokesperson asked the BJP governments to follow suit.
What are the arguments given by the states which have introduced the Constitution in their school curriculum?
Rajasthan: The Rajasthan government announced on Friday that the reading the Constitution will be made compulsory in all the schools. This will come into practice from the Republic day. The reading of the Constitution will happen daily during the prayer session. The preamble of the Constitution will be printed on the first page of the books. Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasra explained that the Constitution reading has been made compulsory to introduce the essence of Constitution in the youth.
To introduce the essence of the Indian Constitution to the youth of the state, government has mandated recitation of the Preamble of the Constitution in all schools from 26th January 2020. India is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic...(1/2) pic.twitter.com/AW0psf2WFe— Govind Singh Dotasra (@GovindDotasra) January 24, 2020
Chhattisgarh: The tribal state has introduced one hour compulsory discussion on the Constitution every Monday. This rule will be implemented from January 27. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had earlier explained in the state assembly during the winter session that discussion on the Constitution will be made compulsory in schools to make the youth well informed about the Constitution.
Maharashtra: The Maharashtra government has made daily group reading of Constitution compulsory starting from the Republic day. The government has explained that the Constitution reading has been made compulsory because it makes the youth responsible, intelligent and cultured citizens.
Madhya Pradesh: The Congress-led state government has made the Constitution reading compulsory every Saturday, starting from today. As per the state government, it is being done so that citizens become aware of the basic principles of inclusiveness, justice, equality, liberty and brotherhood.
Delhi: In Delhi schools, it is already an ongoing program. The Constitutional topics are discussed in the Delhi government schools once a month. This practice started in July 2019. The AAP government argued that such discussions will help the students to connect with the values of the Constitution.
Kerala: Kerala Chief Minister Pinnarayi Vijayan has said it was aimed to create social awareness regarding the importance of protecting the Constitution. The state is governed by the alliance led by the Left parties - Communist Party of India (Marxist) and CPI.
The non-BJP states are arguing that they want to groom a generation which understands the values of the Constitution but the question remains how effective these steps are.
Former diplomat and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gandhi told Asiaville that while he empathises with the states which have made the Constitution reading compulsory, in order to make it effective it needs to be presented in an interesting manner. “It is easy enough to prescribe a text and embed it in a learner's mental furniture. It is more difficult but far more rewarding to make that text appeal to the learner's enquiring intellect and make it integral to her or his awareness.” He further added, it would also “mean hard work for the teachers.”