"Catch them young" seems to be the mantra of the BJP and RSS in trying to establish their ideological supremacy across the country.
According to a report in the Times of India, a top national school Ryan International has officially decided to promote the BJP membership drive by urging its teachers and students to enroll with the party. If this isn't surprising enough, many teachers also claim that their salaries are being held back until they fill the BJP membership form. It is possible that this could just be the case because the school's managing director Grace Pinto has recently been made the BJP Mahila Morcha's national secretary. But if we know how the BJP and RSS function, this seems to be part of a larger plan to disseminate their ideology among children.
Consider this. From March 13 to 16 the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha of the RSS - comprising more than 1,400 representatives from across India - met in Nagpur to deliberate how to take the Hindutva agenda forward in the country. After the Pratinidhi Sabha, an RSS-affiliated body, the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal met to chart out a plan on promoting the Sangh's agenda in the field of education. Sources in the BSM reveal that the Narendra Modi government will be "impressed upon" to give a "decisive thrust" towards a "restructuring of the education system in line with the nationalist agenda", in other words "saffronisation".
"Macaulay and the Wood's Despatch need to be dispatched," a BSM functionary told this writer, alleging that the present education system continues to be "British in its DNA". "We cannot change the DNA without a complete overhaul of the education system," he said. There is a belief in the BSM - and this broadly reflects the beliefs of the Sangh intellectuals and ideologues - that the so-called "saffronisation of education" that took place during Atal Bihari Vajpaye's government was nothing but mere tinkering. "The changes by [Murli Manohar] Joshi were restricted to the curriculum and a few appointments here and there. There was nothing fundamental." The BSM functionary believes that as the BJP had come to power for the first time, Sangh remained content with the "cosmetic changes" made by the then HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi.
Ironically, the BSM has much higher hopes with the present incumbent Smriti Irani, who isn't even from an RSS background. Apparently, Irani is in regular contact with the BSM and seeks their inputs every now and then. BSM representatives were present in Irani's meeting with high level functionaries of the Sangh and its affiliated organisations on October 30 last year.
It is only the infamous Dinanath Batra founder of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti whose name has come into prominence mainly because of his battle against Wendy Doniger's book The Hindus: An Alternative History and AK Ramanujan's essay "Three Hundred Ramayanas". But the BSM has gone about its work with much more stealth and finesse. It has prepared and submitted comprehensive papers on education policy to the HRD minister. It has complied critiques of documents such as the Kothari Commission report, New Education Policy of 1986 and 1992, the Yashpal Committee report and National Curriculum Framework of 2005. Its inputs are not just about curriculum, it has even criticised the CBSE's marking system.
According to the "Vision and Mission" section of the BSM's website, the organisation's aim is to develop an educational system that is "based on Bharatiya values, nurtured by Bharatiya culture and is Bharat-centric".
It says that "Indian culture should be reflected from the personality of the students".
According to BSM: "The present educational system is entirely contrary to Indianness. We have to make efforts to incorporate Indian ethos into the present educational policies, study materials and the basic infrastructure". If the BSM succeeds in its objectives, the "Adarsh Bhakt" may no longer be restricted to jokes on social media.