Author: – Akhil Kodali
From an education standpoint, India is an anti-Hindu Nation, Secular Nation, Muslim Nation, Christian Nation, etc, recently a Jain Nation as well. It’s probably many other nations but not a Hindu Nation.
Article 30 in The Constitution Of India
30. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
(1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice
(1A) In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, referred to in clause ( 1 ), the State shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause
(2) The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language
Article 15 (5) in The Constitution Of India (93rd amendment passed in 2005 and came into effect in 2006)
2 [(5) Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of Article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of Article 30.]
Article 30 gives minority institutions property rights to preserve the character of their minority institution. This gives the minority institution huge leverage when negotiating when it comes to land acquisition. Hindu Institutions have no such protection and are at the mercy of the state when it comes to property rights. Additionally, minority institutions are eligible for grants and aid from the government. And article 15(5) reinforces the existing view of precluding them from implementing any affirmative actions including but not limited to reservations. For any institution to be a minority either the ownership or management has to be from a minority community.
Lets look at the basic question,
Can Hindus create their own educational institutions in India? Yes, but there are a lot of riders.
Article 26 allows educational institutions with a religious character to be created only as a trust i.e. all Gurukuls, Vedapatashalas etc have to operate only under a trust. Or Hindu educators can create for-profit or non-profit secular schools. For-profit Hindu schools are not allowed. While Article 30 grants minorities the freedom to create For-Profit educational institutions.
This has created a non-level playing field between Hindu and non-Hindu educators.
The net-effect of Article 26 + Article 30 is the prevention of new investments into Hindu educational infrastructure.
Right to Education Act (RTE) passed in 2009 and subsequent expansion had dealt a death blow to the Hindu educator. The problems of this act are primarily 3 fold
1. Locking up of working capital – it takes a while for reimbursements to come in.
2. Revenue caps – it fixes the number of students it has to admit from depressed backgrounds. And in case of non-fulfillment, the schools have to forego revenue.
3. Pre-approval needed for even fee changes for the open category seats.
This act is a problem as it is applicable only for Hindu run institutions. A minority institution has complete freedom in how it operates the admission process, recruits, and fee it charges.
This has resulted in a death blow to small schools across India and only larger schools are able to manage the bureaucratic and operational burden.
Most of the neighbour hood schools in India are family run (mom n pop) schools. RTE forces them to forgo up to 25% of the students and revenue. Many of them (Hindus) have lost their livelihood.
Article 26: Prevents investment in Hindu education
Article 30: Grants freedom to non-Hindu educators along with funding
Article 15(5): Prevents government interference in non-Hindu educational institutions
Article 21(A) / RTE: Destroys infrastructure of Hindu educators and institutions
While it is observed minority institutions are able to charge the necessary fee without any need to forego any seats. This coupled with grants minority institutions receives from various government agencies and overseas funding (including Christian and Islamic networks) has seen greater improvements in their infrastructure. Supreme Court in a 2-1 judgment upheld the constitutionality of RTE i.e. they agree to the view that it is ok to discriminate against Hindus and Hindu educators.
The parents i.e. consumers have no choice but to send their kids to these institutions. The result is visible RTE has led to closure for over 100,000 schools in India almost all of them belonging to Hindus.
While New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 does talk a great many things about Sanskrit, the purpose of education, Neurological requirement, Home-schooling. These ideas are not new to the western world. They have been around for a couple of decades at least. The “Vedic” in NEP is not the “Vedic” as Hindus understand.
Can Hindu educators make a living teaching Hindu or secular content? No, not according to the Indian Constitution and Supreme Court.
There is a far more fundamental problem. Hindu education is not considered legitimate.
Will a Vedic Board help. It probably will be another AYUSH. AYUSH has missed a great opportunity in mainstreaming Ayurveda and Siddha medicines. During the time of corona, there is far too much anecdotal evidence too easily accessible, about efficacy to ignore.
The recent high court judgment against a major Ayurvedic drug maker was dis-heartening as the intent of the Judge was to stop the company at any cost not necessarily the enforcement of the law in good faith. What is the role of AYUSH in all of this? Is AYUSH subservient to some other system of medicine?
If and when a Vedic board gets formed would it be subservient to other boards? What prevents the Vedic board from going the way of AYUSH or even worse.
Without creating a level playing field for Hindu educators a Vedic Board is dead on arrival.
On a side note: The recent decision by the Assam government to stop discriminatory state funding of a certain kind of education institutions is lauded by many Hindus. But how does it serve the Hindu interests in any way pointed out above? They continue to retain the legitimacy of their institutions while Hindu’s institutions continue to remain illegitimate. I fail to understand how the decision of the Assam government is beneficial in any way for Hindus?
Image credits: https://nithyanandatruth.org/nithyananda-gurukul/