BJD leader B Mahtab on Tuesday wondered whether reciting something in Sanskrit is not secular as he raised in Lok Sabha the issue of certain entities not agreeing with the decision for the compulsory recitation of common prayers in Sanskrit by students in all Kendriya Vidyalayas. A petition has also been filed in the Supreme Court regarding the revised education code for Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) Sangathan schools comprising compulsory recitation of common prayers in Sanskrit by students.
During the Zero Hour, Mahtab asked the government to put forth its view on the matter in the House as well as in the Supreme Court. He said some parents, children and organisations from certain communities do not agree with this common prayer in KVs, which are run by the central government.
Mahtab said it was a common fact that the common prayers that are being sung in Kendriya Vidyalayas are from Upanishads, which are widely acclaimed by one and all in this world. "Our original Constitution has the motifs of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Upanishads which are on display both in the Parliament House Library and also in the Teen Murti Bhavan Library and it was never questioned as to why it had features of Hindu religion.
"Today, we hear that the secular character is being tarnished because of the invocations in Sanskrit," he noted. He also referred to Sanskrit shloka 'Yato Dharma Tato Jaya' which is part of the Supreme Court logo.
Even in Lok Sabha, Dharma Chakra Pravartanaya is written in the panel, Mahtab said and asked whether it means that something "which is being recited in Sanskrit is not secular?" He said that Upanishads have given us 'Asathoma Sad Gamaya, Thamasoma Jyotir Gamaya' (From ignorance lead me to truth, from darkness lead me to light) and that is recited in Kendriya Vidyalayas. "Why should someone go to the Supreme Court challenging it that it impinges on the secular character?" he wondered.
Congress member Shashi Tharoor raised the Sabarimala temple issue and said the controversy can be resolved either through judicial process or through legislative action by Parliament. Various entities, including right-wing groups, have been protesting in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in September 2018 to lift the ban on entry of females between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine. The ruling LDF in Kerala had decided to implement the court's order.
During the Zero Hour, Tharoor, who represents Thiruvananthapuram constituency, said Kerala has been deeply troubled by the ongoing controversy regarding the Sabarimala Temple. Irresponsible parties have been trying to hijack protests by genuine believers in a bid to reap political dividends.
They have been engaging in vandalism and violence disrupting the law and order in the state, he alleged. "This problem can only be solved either through a judicial process in the form of a review of the Hon. Supreme Court's judgement or through legislative action by Parliament," he said.
Without naming any party, Tharoor said it was hypocrisy "to create violence and protest when you have the majority to pass a law". "I urge the government to come up with a legislative action to ensure and protect the freedom of religious places and worship in principle with constitutional values because we need to clarify the application of essential religious practices," he said.
BJP member Nishikant Dubey alleged that the West Bengal government was protecting corrupt people and illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to vote bank politics. Dharmendra Yadav (SP) raised the issue of change in roster system for recruitment of teachers in colleges and universities.
(With inputs from agencies.)