Teaching to Hate

The Hindu Right’s Pedagogical Program
  • Nandini Sundar


In 1992, “Hindu” kar sevaks or “volunteers for god” under the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other fronts of the Hindu chauvinist organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),1 demolished the Babri Masjid, a fifteenth-century mosque in Ayodhya, sparking off a round of violence across the country. They claimed the mosque had been built over an earlier temple commemorating the birthplace of the Hindu god, Ram, a claim that secular professional historians have contested.2 For many children in RSS run schools, however, this divisive, painful, and bloody propaganda has long had the status of “facts,” which they learn as part of “history” or “general knowledge.” For instance, the Sanskriti Gyan Pariksha Prashnotri or a primer for a “Cultural Knowledge Exam,” which all students in RSS schools take and for which they get a certificate, has the following list of questions and answers:
  • Q: Which Mughal invader destroyed the Ram temple in 1582?

  • A: Babur

  • Q: From 1582 till 1992, how many devotees of Ram sacrificed their lives to liberate the temple?

  • A: 350,000.

  • Q: When did the program of collecting bricks for the Ram Mandir begin?

  • A: September 30. 1989.

  • Q: When did the Karsevaks fly the saffron flag on Ramjanmabhoomi?

  • A: October 30, 1990.


Government School Catholic School History Textbook Hindu Nationalism Bharatiya Janata Party 
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© E. Thomas Ewing 2005

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  • Nandini Sundar

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