Pseudoscience & Religion

Schools are not Battlegrounds for Religions!

I received today a communication on Facebook, shrieking that it was unjust for the authorities to consider suspension of a teacher who made students shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’ or Hail Lord Rama! in school. Was it Shri Ram or Jesus Christ that was born in India, it demands angrily. Can I not praise my Lord Rama in my own country, it wails. Does Bharat i.e. India belong to Hindus or to the westerners, it asks mindlessly. How dare they make Hindu children sing Christian prayers in Missionary Schools, it asks correctly. Pointing out that almost all Missionary schools in India ban girl pupils from wearing the bindi on the forehead and bangles on hands, it asks for banning of Christian Missionary Schools for violation of children’s rights.

Education is preparation for society

A school must be a place where freedoms are nourished. Children in school must be allowed to grow by learning about everything appropriate to their age; they must be taught to develop their critical thinking and they must be prepared for future responsible roles in a complex society. Education is preparation for society and for improving the self and society.

Children should be taught about religion in social studies and history classes, just as they are taught other subjects. This means knowledge about religion, and does not mean that they have to pray or follow any religious rituals. They should not be forced to practice any religion. No one should preach any religion in any school, nor should atheism be preached or taught. These are really adult matters. Nor should the subjects being taught be influenced by religion or atheism. Neither biology, nor moral science.

Schools are for education, not indoctrination

Schools are institutions where knowledge is acquired, and where children learn to collaborate with each other. Schools are for education, not indoctrination. Here is where pupils should learn about Human Rights. Here is where they should understand civilisation and its achievements. The modern school is one of them and the foundation for a healthy society.

Please stay off the schools, and do not send messages like this which make people misunderstand the purpose of education. Schools are not battle grounds for religions.

No Saraswati puja, no Namaaz, No Hosannas in school!

Even though religion is too serious and complex a subject for children, if it has to be introduced to them at all, then it should be at home, not at school, and by parents and not by teachers.

This applies to Christian prayers as well as to Hindu prayers or any other religion’s prayer. No teacher should be promoting any religion! It is not their job, and would even be against their service rules!

If praising Jesus Christ in the class room is wrong, then praising Lord Rama is equally wrong! There should not be either Saraswati Puja nor should there be Christian prayers or Namaaz in schools. It is not about religious liberty – it is just that religion does not belong in the class room.

The law does not allow that at all in any government or fully government- aided schools in any case. Private schools could also adopt this best practice.

Minority schools cannot coerce anyone to participate in prayer or in ritual. It is immoral and illegal.

India does not belong to the Hindus

But of one thing we must be very clear – India does NOT belong to the Hindus or to other communities. She belongs to ALL her citizens who are individuals. Those of faith and those of none: citizens could be Hindus, Christians, Muslims or Humanists or Atheists. Our India also belongs to the world which has high expectations of high standards of democracy from her.

India has an ancient culture, but is also a new country which became an independent entity in 1947. The Republican Constitution came in 1950 – it is the supreme law of the land. India was formed as a secular country, not as a Hindu country. It is blessed Pakistan which was created on the basis of religion. India was untainted by a religious identity even after half a million Hindus and Muslims died in religious clashes during partition. Why are we losing our secularism in these more peaceful times?

A teacher is not a priest. A Hindu teacher cannot and should not teach Hinduism in school unless the subject of study is Hinduism, and that too that teaching should be academic.

Propagating one’s religion can be done in the Temple or Church or Mosque without any interference from anyone.

Secularism and minority rights

Appeasement of any section of society is against Secularism and damages the secular character of our country. In any case, Secularism is an integral part of the basic structure of India and cannot be changed. The Supreme Court of India is clear. You cannot say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the class room. You cannot sing praises to Jesus Christ in the class room in the US or in France or Belgium etc. either.

Minority rights are needed for groups to retain their identity and to conduct their activities. There are international standards for protecting the rights of minorities. These rights are precious and are a test of that country’s democracy and are not really special rights for Muslims or Christians. Even language communities can be minorities – for example you can have a Telugu educational institution with minority status in New Delhi or a Marathi educational institution in Hyderabad. As an aside, do you know that many years ago Ramakrishna Math, established by the well-known Hindu Swami Vivekananda, claimed Minority status saying Vivekananda established a separate religion? In 1995 the Supreme Court of India rejected their peculiar claims which were aimed at avoiding government control of their educational institutions. No body wants government interference, but minority rights are really about protection of identity.

All this does not mean that missionary schools should make children wear or not wear a particular style of dress. They have no right to do so. Any restrictions or dress codes should be within the guidelines of the Education department. In many countries, children may not wear obviously religious dresses to school – the Islamic scarf or the Jewish kepi or the Christian cross. This is indeed tricky territory and not without controversy.

Why prayer at all?

Now, why do we need any religious prayer when children are anyway singing the National Anthem in school assemblies? In an important case, the teacher Sanjay Salve approached the High Court of Mumbai that he cannot sing a particular prayer because the prayer said all were children of God whereas he was the child of his parents! The court recently accepted he had a right not to say the prayer at school. See here for full details.

In any case, why not discuss the lives and thoughts of famous and important thinkers both religious and non religious in assemblies and in moral science classes? That would contribute more to social well being and nation building than bringing in devotional, organised religion which continues to divide people in the country.

(This article is available in Polish here.)

About the author

Babu Gogineni


  • Is it high time now that we the middle-class Indians who call themselves Hindus , should stop calling ourselves by that name that gives us a false notion of Identity.??…..Being a Hindu am I not related to my Buddhist & Jain ancestors…..Being a North-Indian even if non-Punjabi can I say that Sikhism did not contribute to whatever I call my North- Indian culture..??……………..Moreover is it not the Hindu identity & Hinduism modern day distortion caused unconsciously by Western Orientalists , accepted by (Culturally Hindu) Indian nationalists & something that we middle-class uselessly gloat about ???

  • **As an aside, do you know that many years ago Ramakrishna Math, established by the well-known Hindu Swami Vivekananda, claimed Minority status saying Vivekananda established a separate religion? **

    Interesting. Goes to show how shameless our Hindu friends are.

    **Now, why do we need any religious prayer when children are anyway singing the National Anthem in school assemblies?**

    National anthems are just as harmful as prayers. Nationalism is just another kind of a religion.

    • The Communist WB Govt. wished to take over the schools run by the Ramakrishna Mission (as they were churning out better students). The only way you could fight the CPM Govt. was if you were a school run by the minority. It was either that or hand over schools/lands/infrastructure built over decades. So they claimed minority status for legal benefits. They were overruled by the courts. The Govt. was piqued at the levels RKM went to protect themselves and backed off.
      Know some facts about ‘our Hindu friends’!

    • re: national anthems, I think that they cannot be equated with religion. especially for new states, imagine how hard it was for nehru to build national solidarity in a time when people had various allegiances to religions, castes, and old kingdoms? we now have the luxury of saying national anthems to build solidarity are useless, but one must realize that they have pragmatic use as well. thanks for the information savitri. D, your cunning acrostic poem is trolling and should be deleted.

  • >>India was formed as a secular country, not as a Hindu country>>> still we shy away from enacting a UCC despite the Directive Principles of our Constitution enjoining the same on the Citizens of our Country. Why a Secular Country should have Laws based on Religions?

  • U militant atheist do not have any rights to tell minorities what to do and what not do,the so called government schools demonize Christian and Muslim and promote Hinduism.i read in Christian schools,they never coerced me and madrassas are privately funded,it main emphasis was to teach religion.ok I believe modern education,but even religious schools can do it like Christian Christian’s in Israel still believe in God and are quite educated.oxford and Cambridge were early religious institution,Fathima az-zuhri founded the first modern University in morocco.also nalanda and Takshila University was religious institution cum study centre.u militant atheist by ruining china and Russia cannot change yourself.swami vivekananda views is more holistic than the pathetic view of stalin

  • No one is turning ami into madrassa,it was always Muslim universities where non-muslims also read.they have 10% reservations.u upper caste Hindus denied women and lower caste education for is because of British and intelligent bengalis that India was enlightened.

  • What Did the Ancient Indian Education System Look Like?

    Like the culture and traditions of India, the system of education also has a rich history of its own. Majorly influenced by the Hindu religion, the knowledge acquired by people of ancient times was passed on from one generation to another and is reflected even in the teachings of today. Here’s a brief take on what the system of education was like during the early days of the Indian civilization.

    In the olden days, there was no formal education in India. A father passed on knowledge, primarily related to his occupation, to his child. Much later, two systems of education emerged – Vedic and Buddhist. The Vedic system revolved around the Vedas, Vedangas and Upanishads, while the Buddhist system preached the thoughts of the major Buddhist schools. The language of education was Sanskrit for the Vedic system and Pali for the Buddhist system.

    What was unique about ancient Indian education?

    Education in ancient India was quite different from the rest of the world back then. The society and state couldn’t interfere with the curriculum or the administration. To get an education, a child had to leave home and live with a teacher in a gurukul for the entire duration of his studies. No fee was charged for education; in fact, the teacher took care of everything, including food, clothing and housing. According to this system, physical labor was of utmost importance. So, even if a child was interested in acquiring philosophical knowledge, he would still have to do some manual work every day. Debates and discussions were a part of education, even in ancient days.

    When could a child start acquiring education?

    In the Vedic system, a child started his education at the age of five. To mark this commencement, the Vidyarambha ceremony, which included worshiping Goddess Saraswati and learning alphabets for the first time, was conducted. Leaving home and starting to live with ateacher required the child to conduct another ceremony called Upanayana. Boys practiced this ceremony at different ages according to their castes (only children of the Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya did so).

    In the Buddhist system, a child started his education at the age of eight, with a ceremony called Pabbajja or Prabrajya. Unlike the Vedic system, this initiation ceremony could be practiced by boys of all castes. After this, the child would leave home and go to live in a monastery under the guidance of his teacher (a monk).

    The education of women

    Education for women was quite important in ancient India. They were trained in housekeeping, as well as in dancing and music. Girls also had to conduct the Upanayana ceremony. Educated women were divided into two classes – Sadyodwahas, those who pursued their education just until they got married, and Brahmavadinis, those who never married and continued studying throughout their lives. Vedas and Vedangas were taught to women, too, but were limited to religious songs and poems necessary for rituals. Some notable Vedic and Upanishad women scholars were Apala, Indrani, Ghosha, Lopamudra, Gargi and Maitreyi.

    What were the subjects of study?
    Both Vedic and Buddhist systems of education had different subjects of study. The Vedic system comprised of the four Vedas (Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda), six Vedangas (ritualistic knowledge, metrics, exegetics, grammar, phonetics and astronomy), the Upanishads, Tarka Shastra (logic and reasoning), Puranas (history), and more.
    The main subjects in the Buddhist system were the three Pitakas (Vinaya, Abhidhamma and Sutta), the most recognized works of all 18 Buddhism schools. Certain other subjects common to both the systems were arithmetic, military science, law, performing arts, ethics, and art and architecture.

    The period of learning and vocational education

    Mastering one Veda took 12 years. Thus, depending on how many subjects the student wanted to learn, the study period varied accordingly. The education could go on for as long as 48 years.

    In order to earn a livelihood, men needed to know an art form. As per the ancient Indian education system, there were about 64 art forms, including dance, music, jewel making, sculpture, agriculture, and medical sciences. To acquire vocational training in a particular art form, men were required to work as trainees under a master to gain expertise. They were taught without any cost, and food and boarding were also taken care of by the master.

    Methods of teaching

    Though teaching in groups was common back then, students were also taught individually by their teachers based on their capabilities and aptitudes. Oral recitation was the basic medium of imparting knowledge and was practiced through various methods like introspection (listening, contemplation and concentrated contemplation), storytelling, memorization, critical analysis, practical study and seminars.

    Ancient educational institutions

    Just as we have world renowned universities today, there were popular educational institutions here during the ancient times as well. Four of these institutions were quite prominent and known for different specializations. The University of Nalanda was famous for its Catholic and cosmopolitan character and its department of logic. Takshasila University, in an area what is now modern-day Pakistan, was well-known across the world for its medical school and was the chief learning centre in 6th century BC. What Nalanda University was to east India, Vallabhi was to west India. It was also a famous study center that specialized in subjects like law, medicine and economics, and had students attending from all parts of the country. Vikramshila was yet another esteemed institution, best known for Tantric Buddhism.

  • Ancient Indian Education System (From the Beginning to 10th C. A.D.)

    In ancient India a child followed the occupation of his father, either religious or professional and his training in that particular field was provided by his father in his house. Over a period of time two system of education developed, the Vedic and the Buddhist. As the name indicates in the former system Vedas, Vedangas, Upanishads and other allied subjects were taught while in the latter system, thoughts of all the major school of Buddhism was taught. While Sanskrit was the medium of instruction in the Vedic system of education, Pali was the medium of instruction in the Buddhist system of education. But both system offered vocational education apart from religious education of their respective faiths. There was also a purely vocational system of education wherein master craftsmen and artisans taught their skills to students who worked as apprentice under them.

    Uniqueness of Ancient Indian Education:

    From time immemorial, India has explicitly recognized that the supreme goal of life is self-realization and hence the aim of education has always been the attainment of such a fullness of being. But at the same time it was also recognized that different individuals have naturally different inclinations and capacities. Hence not only the highest philosophy but also ordinary subjects like literature and science as also vocational training find a place in ancient education system. The education system of ancient India may claim to be unique in the world in many respects like-

    The State and the society did not in any way interfered with the curriculum of studies or regulating the payment of fees or hours of instructions.

    Another special characteristic of ancient Indian educational system was it was fully and compulsorily residential. The student had to live in the house of his teacher for the whole duration of his studies and learn from him not only what was taught but also observe how his teacher responded to different situation arising in daily life and learn from it.

    Stress was laid on having a personal relation between the teacher and the taught. Each student used to meet the teacher separately and learn from him through separate instruction and guidance.

    Education was absolute free and the teacher looked after the primary needs of the students including food and clothing.
    The Indian system of education upheld the dignity of labour. Hence even a student aiming at the highest philosophical knowledge was duty bound to do some manual labour daily such as collecting fuel, tending cattle, etc.

    Education in ancient India was more of seminar type where students used to learn through discussions and debates.

    Aims of Education: The aims of education were to provide good training to young men and women in the performance of their social, economic and religious duties.
    Also preservation and enrichment of culture, character and personality development and cultivation of noble ideals were the other aims of education in ancient India.

    Commencement of Education: In the Vedic system, education of a child commenced at the age of five with the ceremony called Vidyarambha. It was marked by learning the alphabets for the first time and offering worship to Goddess Saraswathi.

    But it was only after the ceremony called Upanayana that a child used to leave his parent’s home and go to stay in the house of his teacher to commence his study. He was now called Brahmacharin. Upanayana ceremony was held to Brahmin boys at the age of eight, for the Kshatriya boys at the age of ten and for the Vaishya boys at the age of twelve. In the Buddhist system of education, a child commenced his education at the age of eight after an initiation ceremony called Prabrajya or Pabbajja. This ceremony was open to person of all castes unlike the Upanayana ceremony where only the Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya caste were eligible.

    After the initiation ceremony the child left his home to live in a monastery under the guidance and supervision of his preceptor (monk). He was now called Sramana and used to wear a yellow robe. In the Vedic system of education a Bramachari after finishing his education was eligible to become a Grihasta or householder, in the Buddhist system of education after finishing his education, a Sramana was given a full status of monkhood or Bhikshu.

    Education of Women: A high standard of learning and culture was reached by Indian women during the Vedic age. In addition to training in the arts of housekeeping they learnt music and dancing. Like boys, girls had to undergo the upanayana ceremony. There were two classes of educated women, Sadyodwahas– who prosecuted studies till their marriages and Bramhavadinis who did not marry and pursued their studies though out their lives. Women were also taught the Vedas and Vedangas, but the extent of their study was restricted only to those hymns which were necessary for the Yajna (sacrifice) or other ritualistic operations. Women sages were called Rishikas. The Rigveda mentions the name of some of some of the famous women seers like Ghosha, Apala, Lopamudra, Visvavara, Indrani, etc. who composed hymns. During the Upanishad period we find scholarly women like Maitreyi and Gargi taking part in public debates and discussions with philosophers and sages.

    Subject of Study: The main subjects of study in the Vedic system of education were the four Vedas, six Vedangas (phonetics, ritualistic knowledge, grammar, exegetics, metrics and astronomy), the Upanishads, the six darshanas (nyaya, vaiseshika, samkya, yoga, mimamsa and vedanta), puranas (history), tarka shastra (logic), etc.

    The chief subjects of study in the Buddhist system of education were the three Pitakas (sutta, vinaya and abhidhamma), the works of all the eighteen schools of Buddhism, hetu-vidya, sabda-vidya, chikitsa-vidya, etc. The Vedas were also studied for acquiring comparative knowledge.

    The art of writing was known in India for a long time. Those who wanted to become religious leaders had to learn several scripts. In Jaina works like Samavaya Sutra and Pragnapara Sutra reference to 18 different scripts are available. Buddhist literary works like Lalitavistara and Mahavastu mention different types of scripts in vogue. While the former refer to 64 types of scripts the latter to about a dozen types of scripts. Regarding the curricula of school students, the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang says that children began by learning the alphabet and then began the study of five subjects like grammar, arts and crafts, medicine, logic and philosophy. This was the general scheme of studies for laymen of all sects. Other subjects of study were law (dharmashastras), arithmetic, ethics, art and architecture (silpasastra), military science (dhanurvidya), performing arts, etc.

    Vocational Education: A majority of people earned their livelihood by following various professions. Ancient Indian literature refers to sixty-four arts which include weaving, dyeing, spinning, art of tanning leather, manufacture of boats, chariots, the art of training elephants and horses, art of making jewels, implements and equipment, art of dance, music, agriculture, building houses, sculpture, medical science, veterinary science, the profession of a chemist, manufacture of perfumes and a host of other professions. In the vocational system of education young men used to work as apprentices under a master for a number of years and gained expertise in their respective professions. The apprentices were taught free of cost and provided with boarding and lodging by the master.

    Methods of Learning: In ancient India close relationship existed between the pupil and the teacher. The teacher used to pay individual attention on his students and used to teach them according to their aptitude and capability. Knowledge was imparted orally and the different methods of learning were-

    Memorization– The preliminary stage of learning was learning by heart the sacred text through indefinite repletion and rehearsal by both the teacher and the taught.

    Critical Analysis– This was another method in which knowledge was comprehended. It was through critical analysis that Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhvacharya differed from their teachers on the interpretation of the Brahmasutra composed by Sri Shankara and later came out with their own interpretation of the Brahmasutra.
    Madhvacharya even made his teacher subscribe to his view which shows that gurus were open to new ideas and views articulated by their students.

    Introspection– Sravana (listening), Manana (contemplation) and Nididhyasana (concentrated contemplation) of the truth so as to realize it was another method to study Brahma Vidya (Vedanta).

    Story telling– The teacher used stories and parables to explain. This was the method Buddha used to explain his doctrines.
    Question and Answer method– In this method the pupils used to ask questions and the teacher used to discuss at length on the topics and clear their doubts.

    Hands-on method– For professional courses including medical science, students/apprentices used to learn by observation and through practical method.

    Seminars– The students also gained knowledge thought debates and discussions which were held at frequent intervals.

    Period of Study: It took 12 years to master one Veda. Hence depending upon the wish of the student to learn as many subjects, the period of study varied. It was 12 years, 24 years, 36 years or 48 years. A graduate was called Snataka and the graduation ceremony was called Samavartana.

    Types of Teachers:

    Acharya was a type of teacher who taught his pupil Vedas without charging fee from the pupils.

    Upadhyaya was the one who adopted teaching as a profession to earn his livelihood and taught only a portion of the Veda or Vedangas.

    Charakas or wandering scholars toured the country in quest of higher knowledge. Though not normally competent as teachers they were regarded as possible source of knowledge by Satapatha Brahmana. Hiuen Tsang was struck with the knowledge gained by some of the wandering teachers (called Bhikkhus and Sadhus during his times) and who had accumulated a treasure of knowledge by constant travel and who used to gladly impart it to others.

    Guru was the one who used to lead a gruhasta life and earn his livelihood after imparting education to his disciples and maintain his family.

    Yaujanasatika were teachers famous for their profound scholarship that students from distant places, as far as from a distance of hundreds of miles would come to seek their guidance.

    Sikshaka was a teacher who gave instruction in arts like dancing.

    Educational Institutions:

    The Gurukul was the house of the teacher who was a settled house-holder. After the initiation ceremony a child would leave his natural parents and reside in the house of his preceptor or Guru till the end of his studies.

    Then there were Parishads or Academies where the students of advanced learning gathered and enriched themselves through discussions and discourses. Being seat of learning they were originally conducted by three Brahmins. But the number gradually increased till it was settled that a Parishad ought to consist of 21 Brahmins well versed in philosophy, theology and law. During first century A.D. association of literati were convened at regular intervals in Tamilnadu which was known as Sangam. The purpose of these gathering of scholars was to adjudge the literary excellence of works submitted for criticism and to set the standard in Tamil style. These gathering were patronized by kings.

    Goshti or Conferences was a national gathering or Congress summoned by a great king in which representatives of various schools were invited to meet and exchange their views. In one such conference called by king Janaka of Videha, the great scholar Yajnavalkya won a special prize of 1000 cows with horns hung with gold.

    Ashramas or hermitages were another center where students from distant and different parts of the country flocked together for learning around famous sages and saints. For example the Ashrama of Bharadwaj at Prayag was a very big Ashrama where princes like Bharat used to study. Another Ashrama was that of Naimisha located in the forest of Naimisharanya headed by sage Saunaka. Here ten thousand pupils and numerous learned teachers and scholars held constant discussions and debates on religious, philosophical and scientific topics. Another famous Ashrama was that of sage Kanva on the banks of river Malini, a tributary of the river Saryu.

    Vidyapeeta was an institution for spiritual learning founded by the great acharya, Sri Shankara in places like Sringeri, Kanchi, Dwarka, Puri and Badri. The Vidyapeeta had a teacher whose influence extended to thousand villages round about and was presided by a Jagadguru.

    Ghathikas was an institution of highest learning where both the teachers and the taught met and discussed and where by the clash and contact of cultured scholars the highest knowledge could be obtained in religious literature.

    Agraharas were settlements of Brahmins in villages where they used to teach.
    Mathas was a place where pupils used to reside and received instructions both religious and secular. These mathas belonged to both Shaiva and Vaishnava sects and were normally attached to some temples or had some temples attached to them.

    Brahmapuri was a settlement of learned Brahmins in parts of towns and cities or in any selected area where education was imparted.

    Vihara was a Buddhist monastery where all subjects concerned with Buddhism and its philosophy was taught.

    Famous Educational Institutions:

    Takshasila: This was a chief center of learning in 6th century B.C. Here sixteen branches of learning were taught in different schools; each presided by a special professor. There were schools of painting, sculpture, image making and handicrafts. But this university was reputed for its medical school. One famous student of this medical school was Jivaka who cured king Bimbisara of Magadha and the great Buddha. Jivaka had studied here for seven years under the Rishi Atreya.

    Nalanda: Renowned for its cosmopolitan and catholic character, the University of Nalanda was famous for its faculty of Logic.

    Vallabhi: While Nalanda was the famous seat of learning in eastern India, Vallabhi was the renowned seat of learning in the western India. If Nalanda was specializing in the higher studies of Mahayana Buddhism, Vallabhi was the center for the advanced learning in Hinayana Buddhism.

    Secular subjects like Arthasastra

    (economics), Niti Shastra (law) and Chikitsa Sastra (medicine) were also taught here and like Nalanda students from all parts of India used to come here to study. Students who graduated from this university used to be employed in the royal courts as administrators with huge responsibilities. Just like Nalanda University was destroyed by Muslim invaders, Vallabhi also met the same fate.

    Vikramasila: The University of Vikramasila was renowned for Tantric Buddhism.
    Ujjain: It was famous for its secular learning including mathematics and astronomy.

    Benaras was well-known for teaching theology.

    Salotgi in Karnataka was an important Centre of learning. It had 27 hostels for its students who hailed from different provinces. This college was richly endowed in 945 A.D. by Narayana the minister of Krishna III with the revenues of houses, land and levies on marriages and other ceremonies.

    Ennayiram in Tamilnadu provided free boarding and tuition to 340 students. Other important centers of learning in South India were Sringeri and Kanchi.
    High Standard of Education: The quality of education imparted in ancient India was unparalleled. Hence in spite of various hardship and hurdles students from different parts of the world flocked to Indian universities. Amir Khusrau (1252-1325 A.D.) mentions that scholars have come from different parts of the world to study in India but no Indian scholar have found it necessary to go abroad to acquire knowledge. Indian scholars were in great demand abroad. Caliphs like Al Mansur and Harun Al Rashid (754-809 A.D.) sent embassies to India to procure Indian scholars. Astronomical treatise like Brahmasiddhanta and the Khanda Khadyaka of Brahmagupta and the medical books of Charaka, Susruta and Vagbhatta were translated to Arabic. As a home of knowledge and wisdom ancient India produced scores of scholars on various subjects like Buddha and Shankara (philosophy), Kautilya (political science and administration), Sushruta (surgery), Charaka (medicine), Kanada (physicist; propounder of atomic theory), Nagarjuna (Chemistry), Aryabhatta and Varahamihira (Astronomy), Baudhayana and Brahmagupta (mathematics) and Patanjali (yoga) to name a few. The knowledge of ancient Indians in the field of metallurgy was extraordinary as it is evidenced by the Iron pillar at Delhi which till now has not rusted though exposed to elements since hundreds of years. How such a huge column was casted is still a mystery to scientists. The lofty temples found in Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Odisha and Khajuraho to name a few shows the expertise which ancient Indians had in Structural Engineering. As the whole world knows, the concept of zero was a contribution of ancient Indians.

    The Decline: With the invasion of Muslim conquerors nearly all the centers of higher learning of the Hindus and Buddhists were destroyed. Nalanda was burnt to the ground in 1197 A.D. and all its monks were slaughtered. Kanauj and Kashi were looted and plundered. Temples and educational institutions and libraries were put to destruction and they were replaced by mosques. In spite of such merciless and extensive destruction, Hindu educational institutions remained a living reality. They sustained strength from its inherent vitality and vigour and maintained the Hindu education system.
    Even during the reigns of terror and turmoil, merciless persecution and wanton destruction, the Hindu culture and scholarship continued to survive, though it had to migrate to more congenial regions within the country. (B.N.Luniya – Life and Culture in Medieval India, Kamal Prakashan, Indore. 1978, p. 271).

    While the Buddhist system of education was extinguished, the Vedic system of education found patronage in the southern peninsula in places like Hampi, Sringeri and Kanchi. It was under the patronage of Vijayanagara rulers that the Vedic savants Sayana and Madhava wrote commentaries on the Vedas. It was in the south that Ramanujacharya, Basaveshwara and Madhvacharya propounded the philosophy of Vishishtadwaita, Shakti Vishishtadwaita and Dwaita. With regards to the vocational system of education many new crafts and skills were introduced in India after the advent of Muslim into India and till the establishment of British rule in India, many industries like textile manufacturing, ship building, jewelry making and other allied industries flourished which shows the skill and expertise Indians had and in turn the knowledge they had received from their teachers. The products of Indian industries not only fulfilled the needs of Asian and African countries, but were also in great demand in the markets of Europe.

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