Friday, 20 May 2016 12:17

Nationalism finds way to school syllabus

Nationalism finds way to school syllabus  


At a time when a debate on patriotism is raging across the country, the HRD Ministry has decided that its comic book series on Army brave hearts, called Veergatha, will be made compulsory in school libraries. The ministry believes that young minds should be exposed to the electrifying stories of supreme sacrifice made by our soldiers, and it also plans to include some chapters on nationalism in school curriculum, under the New Education Policy. NEP, HRD sources told this correspondent, may be renamed as New Revolutionary Education Policy.


In the first edition of the Veergatha series, soldiers, who have received the Param Veer Chakra, have been eulogised. An outline of their life and service in the army, and their valiant acts at the border, have been depicted through graphic comic strips. "The idea is to make it attractive to the young readers. Schoolchildren may find it boring to read plain text. hence, in order to capture their attention, we have used graphics and made it an interesting read," said the HRD source.


The HRD ministry is of the opinion that most people barely remember the names of war martyrs. The ministry feels that the stories of those who scarified their lives to uphold the nations' integrity must be shared in a greater way. The veergatha initiative is a step in the direction.


The comic strips aims to target young boys and girls of the age group nine to 12, and it is because of this reason they have avoided loaded narratives in pure text format. They have come out with interesting cartoon strips where real life heroes have been depicted in the razzmatazz and colour generally reserved for fictional characters.  


The Veergatha series have been published by the National Book Trust of India, an autonomous body established by the Ministry of Human Resources Development. The Ministry of Defence is a part of the initiative and has collaborated to bring out the narrative. The war heroes featured in the first edition of the comic books consists of five Param Veer Chakra (PVC) awardees including the first recipient of PVC, Major Somnath Sharma, who fought in the 1947 India-Pakistan war. Among others are Major Shaitan Singh (1962 India-China War), Second Lieutenant Arun Khetrapal (1971 India-Pakistan war), Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey (1999 Kargil war) and Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid (1965 India-Pakistan war).


If sources are to be believed, the HRD ministry is coining with the idea to include two to three chapters on nationalism and five to seven chapters on ancient Indian history in school syllabus. 


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