A new course on Hinduism and culture under the banner of Hindu Studies is going to start at Bharat Adhyayan Kendra of BHU. Banaras Hindu University has once again risen to the occasion of nation-building and will soon be instituting a structured degree course on Hindu traditions.
Besides being a centre of modern education, the historic Banaras Hindu University will now provide its students with a formalised education on Vedas, Puranas, Brahmins and Shraman traditions along with epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, in courses based on the characteristics and traditions of Hinduism.
A postgraduate degree course is designed by the Bharat Adhyayan Kendra under the chairmanship of Vijay Bahadur Singh. Several prominent religious and spiritual leaders have contributed towards developing the course which was unanimously approved at the recent Board of Studies meeting chaired by the Faculty of Arts.
Scholars from across the country, including from universities such as BHU, JNU, IIT-Kanpur decided to come together for the first time to teach Hindu studies at the BHU. It has been finalised that the new two-year MA course in Hindu Studies will begin from the first session of the year 2021-2022.
Course to encompass various facets of Hinduism and Hindu scriptures
This is, perhaps, for the first time in the country that the various fields of Hindu scriptures such as military science, philosophy, epistemology have been given an academic format. The syllabus includes the tradition of Hinduism, which mainly consists of the principles, interpretations, debates and methods of determining the meaning of scriptures, Western knowledge epistemology, Ramayana, Mahabharata, architecture, folklore, Folk-drama, linguistics and ancient military science.
The key individuals who played a crucial role in bringing to bear the decision of formalising a degree course on Hindu scriptures at the Board of Studies meeting headed by the Faculty of Arts chairman Vijay Bahadur Singh included JNU Professor Ramnath Jha, Prof. of IIT-Kanpur Nachiketa Tiwari, Prof. Kamlesh Dutt Tripathi, Prof. Brajkishore Swai (Odisha), Prof. BHU Sanskrit Vidya Dharm Vigyan Faculty Vindhyeshwari Prasad Mishra, and folk singer Prof. Malini Awasthi.
Furthermore, Prof. Pradyuman Shah, Prof. Vimalendra Kumar, Prof. Sachchidanand Mishra, Director of Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, Varanasi, Prof. Vijay Shankar Shukla, Prof. Rakesh Upadhyay, Prof. Keshav Mishra, Dr. Arpita Chatterjee, Prof. Sada Shiv Kumar Dwivedi, along with several other prominent Hindu scholars were amongst those who were involved in long deliberations and gave their recommendations on the course.
OpIndia talks to Professor Rakesh Upadhyay to understand the motive behind having a course on Hindu scriptures at BHU
OpIndia had a detailed conversation with Professor Rakesh Upadhyay to understand the vision of the University behind inducting the course, its necessity and objectives of studying the Hindu scriptures. Professor Upadhyay said that India has centres for Buddhist studies, Jain studies, Islamic studies but it lacks any credible centre for studies on Hindu religious texts. In such a scenario, Hindu scriptures are arbitrarily interpreted by people least qualified to do the job. He said when historians with no knowledge of Sanskrit language interpret Hindu religion, scriptures and Sanatan tradition, it is all too easy to guess what their explanation would yield.
Professor Rakesh Upadhyay said, “These are mostly left-wing ideologues whose sole purpose is to malign Hinduism and Sanatan Tradition and push their narrative and not to provide an explanation or have a realistic discussion about it.”
Referring to Left historians, Professor Upadhyay said that the leftists have been holding forth on Hindu religion while having no knowledge about their original texts. Those who have read Rig Veda from the scriptures won’t find a single instance of cow slaughter mentioned in it, but those whose express purpose is to discredit Hinduism, they would resort to distortion and propaganda to pervert the glorious tradition of this nation.
He also added that the purpose of having an academic course is not to have a dispute with anyone but to foreground Sanatana and Hinduism in the coming days, from ancient scriptures to yoga, knowledge, military and scriptural traditions while imbibing its unique characteristics.
Professor Upadhyay asserted that research and writing on Hindu traditions and scriptures have to be augmented so that the uniqueness of the religion is not lost on the future generations and they are not made to wallow in the self-pity by the leftist propaganda. There is something special in our Sanatan Tradition that despite the ravages of time, it is still intact, he said.
Citing the Buddhist and Jain traditions, Professor Upadhya emphasised that no matter what religion, belief or ideology, the origin of all of them remains the same. He said keeping all this in mind, the study of Brahman to Shraman traditions is also a major part of this course.
How did the other traditions originate from Sanatan on this ancient land? How far they travelled? How was their origin? What has been the source of their epistemology? are some of the questions that will be attempted to be answered through this course, not only from the classical perspective but from the practical and experimental point of view as well.
Professor Rakesh Upadhyay further added that the course has been designed in such a way that with its popularity, net-JRF and research will get a boost and the coming generations would get to know and understand the scriptures in their true spirit and not in their distorted versions. An overwhelming number of scholars believe that the induction of a formalised course on Hindu scriptures would serve to remove the erroneous beliefs spread by the propagandists and enlighten people on the true teachings of the Hinduism and its traditions.