Don't consign them to the textbooks!

More than anything else, stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat have brought generations of young people what great, old stories bring: enjoyment, pleasure, amusement. Why on Earth would the boffins in NCERT then even think of considering having these two works in the school syllabus? This isn’t about whether Ramayan and Mahabharat are being thought of as being bunged in as ‘history’. Even as literature – or, for that matter, ‘moral science’ – it’s a bad idea because of one simple elemental reason applicable down the ages: include something in the school syllabus and it becomes a chore, a duty, a drudgery. Consider how many youngsters fed on Shakespeare or Newton grow up to love the works of these two gentlemen? In fact, if anyone wants a topic to take on the glaze of boredom, include it in the textbooks.

Instead, let the epics – whether Ramayan, Mahabharat, Sholay or DDLJ – roam freely in storybooks, movies, cartoons, animation series…. In other words, let them not be dragged out of the multicolour, multi-formed vastness of pop culture into the tedious, droneful world of the textbook. The irony in some folks who prefer scratching their chins to wagging them thinking that by ‘syllabising’ Ramayan and Mahabharat, they will make them more ‘important’ is keen. What they will do if that happens is turn these glorious stories into lessonzzz.


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