Chandigarh: Hitting out at those who are opposing BJP government's move to introduce Bhagwad Gita in school curriculum in the state, Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma today said the scripture is not a religious book and that its teachings will be part of moral education.
"Now, if anybody has objection to teaching Gita, let me tell you that it is not a religious book. 192 nations took part in the International Yoga Day on June 21, out of which 47 were Muslim countries.
"The Deoband (seminary) and others also said that Gita is not a religious book. It (Gita) is knowledge, science, it is curiosity, it is solution, Gita is life... It contains the dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. We decided to included Gita teaching in curriculum as part of moral education," Sharma said while addressing 'meet-the-press' programme here today.
He was responding to charges from various quarters including from some opposition parties that the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government in Haryana was going ahead with "saffronisation" of the education system.
Continuing with his reply, Sharma said: "now, whether we are saffronising or not, I want to state that Nalanda and Taxila were great centres of learning in ancient times in our country and students from around the world used to come to study in these centres."
"Yesterday, two intellectuals from Germany met me in Rishikesh and they hailed our decision of going ahead with the inclusion of Gita in curriculum," he said.
He further said that "(German orientalist) Max Mueller had once got copies of the Vedas in Germany and placing all the four Vedas on his head, he had danced for 30 minutes. He was overjoyed to have got such wealth of knowledge from the Vedas".
Meanwhile, Sharma, who also holds the Transport portfolio, said the state government would soon announce a new policy to improve transport services in the state.
To finalise the policy the government has already held a meeting with various employees unions and other stakeholders, he said.
Noting that 40 lakh passengers were commuting via state transport daily, the minister also indicated involving participation of private sector to meet the ever-growing passenger rush. "Even though the government is adding 1,000 buses to the State Roadways fleet taking their number to 5,100, but this will not be sufficient to meet the passenger rush," he said.
Sharma said the state, therefore, is also open to operating buses under the 'Kilometre Scheme' "as is being done in neighbouring Punjab, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan."
Under the scheme, while the driver will be provided by the state roadways, the buses and conductors are provided by the owners, Sharma said.