Controversy erupts as DU College introduces Bhagavad Gita course for staff, sparking debate over extended working hours

**Controversy Erupts Over Bhagavad Gita Course at Ramanujan College: Upholding Indian Knowledge System or Unfounded Coercion?**

Ramanujan College of Delhi University has recently mandated a 20-day certificate-cum-refresher course on Bhagavad Gita for its teaching and non-teaching staff. This decision has sparked a heated debate, igniting concerns over the imposition of sectarian beliefs and the extension of working hours. The directive, issued by college principal SP Aggarwal, has prompted dissent among some teachers, who view the move with apprehension.

**Background of the Mandate**

The course, conducted both online and offline, is scheduled from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm, stretching until January 9. Principal Aggarwal rationalized the necessity of the course by aligning it with the establishment of the Indian Knowledge System Centre at the college. The initiative aims to sensitize the staff through such programs and shed light on the rich philosophical heritage embedded in the Bhagavad Gita and Vedas.

**Reactions and Concerns**

The decision has evoked a strong response from the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF), which has called for the withdrawal of the mandatory registration. The outfit has criticized the principal’s action as an abuse of power, alleging coercion of teachers and non-teaching staff to compulsorily attend the course. The DTF has emphasized that the imposition of extended working hours and the burden of conducting semester examinations on the staff are unacceptable.

**Debate on Promotion of Sectarian Beliefs**

A major point of contention arises from concerns regarding the potential promotion of “sectarian beliefs” through the mandated course. Some teachers fear that the imposition of the Bhagavad Gita course may unduly influence the college’s academic environment and the beliefs of the staff. This has led to a polarized debate on how such initiatives should be handled within the academic framework.

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**Balancing Professional Obligations and Cultural Sensitization**

The directive issued by Ramanujan College has brought to the forefront the delicate balance between professional obligations and cultural sensitization. While it is crucial for an educational institution to embrace and promote cultural and philosophical heritage, it is equally important to ensure that such initiatives are implemented in a manner that respects the diverse beliefs and practices of the staff.

**The Way Forward**

It is apparent that the mandate for the Bhagavad Gita course at Ramanujan College has stirred a significant controversy, raising pertinent questions about the autonomy of educational institutions and the boundaries of cultural sensitization. As the debate continues to unfold, it is imperative to navigate through this contentious issue with an open and inclusive dialogue, respecting the perspectives of all stakeholders involved.

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