In keeping with the prevalent political mood in the country wherein there is an added emphasis on nationalism, the Arvind Kejriwal regime in Delhi has decided to introduce a 'Deshbhakti' curriculum' in all government-run schools from the next academic year.
Kejriwal announced this on Wednesday on the eve of Independence Day, saying the aim of the unique curriculum is to ensure that children grow up into patriotic citizens who will feel proud to be Indians and who have a deep sense of responsibility towards their country.
“Yesterday evening, the Education Minister (Manish Sisodia) and I had an hour-and-a-half long meeting and we have decided that the time has come to take concrete steps towards building a class of patriotic citizens,” the chief minister said.
Kejriwal, who made the announcement while addressing a function organised by the Directorate of Education, said, “Ordinarily, we are reminded of our love for the country either when there is an India-Pakistan match or when there are tensions on the border. In our day-to-day lives, we forget about our country.”
He said the curriculum will strive to ensure that when the children grow up and start working, at any point if they accept a bribe, they must feel from within that “they are betraying Bharat Mata”. Citing another example, he said, when they jump a traffic light, they must feel they have wronged their country.
“We hear of so many incidents where foreign nationals come to India, and they are faced with loot, assault and rape. When we hear stories of Indians returning from Japan, we only hear praise for the Japanese and their hospitality. That is our ideal; we have to love our country to the extent that we respect it and respect our guests,” Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal also tweeted about the unique 'Deshbhakti Curriculum', inviting inputs from the public on what the course should entail. He also described the curriculum as the biggest gift to the nation on the 73rd Independence Day.
Giving an outline of what the curriculum could possibly include, he said the children must be taught about the glories of the country. They must be made aware of their responsibility and duty towards the country, and they should also be encouraged to find solutions to the nation's problems.
“India has a hundred problems. We are poor, our farmers commit suicide. But who will solve these problems? It is us who will have to find solutions. Our children have to realise that the problems our country is facing will have to be solved by all of us,” Kejriwal said.
Sisodia said that just as the Delhi government schools have excelled in the implementation of Happiness and Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculums, it will be able to roll out the Deshbhakti' curriculum, too.
There appears to be a distinct change in the response of Kejriwal and his party, the AAP, to issues that the BJP drums up to pander to nationalistic feelings. If Kejriwal had raised questions about the surgical strikes, he has played it safe more recently, opting to back the Modi government on the decisions taken with regard to nullification of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcation of the state to form two Union territories.
This change in stance could have a lot to do with the approaching election season in Delhi, which will have Assembly polls early next year. In the post-Pulwama scenario, that was charged with nationalistic sentiments, the BJP swept Delhi in the Lok Sabha elections, winning all seven seats, while the AAP was relegated to the third position in five out of seven constituencies.