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THOUGHTS for LOWBROWS
With liability and responsibility for views strictly limited
By Homa


ISSUES IN THE KERALA EDUCATION BILL:

Kerala being the laboratory retort for Communist experiments in India most people here and elsewhere would doubtless be interested to know what is taking place there. On taking charge of the administration, the Communist Government of Kerala had advertised far and wide that they would solve the food and unemployment problems of the State, give shelter to the homeless, land to the landless, start new industries and nationalize plantations etc. And within three months of getting into power the first major thing taken in hand by the Government is to bring out a Bill to assume full control and complete direction of education from the primary to the university stages. It may be asked why this indecent hurry to come out with an Education Bill when more pressing problems like providing food and work to the people face the state. That is not all. The only thing plenty in Kerala is education. As a matter of fact, it is more plentiful than even Kerala cocoanuts. The only thing well organized in Kerala is education. The only thing in which Kerala could claim pre-eminence among the Indian States is education. That would make us wonder why the Government is so anxious to take absolute control of it.

The game that the Kerala Communists are playing through the Education Bill would be obvious to anyone who knows the conditions prevailing in the State. It is a camouflaged attempt to introduce a complete course of Marxian education to the people as also to oust the Christians from the educational field. Here it may be said that Christian educational institutions from time immemorial had played a vital part in providing literacy to the people of the State. The Hindu rulers of Travancore and Cochin were wise enough to encourage State education as also Private enterprises. For the benefit of those who do not know much about Kerala, it may be pointed out that the Christian educational enterprises were free from any foreign touch, for, Kerala had no missionaries from outside. And Kerala Christianity is as old as Christianity itself with a history of two thousand years. As such the Christian education was native education and it was never denominational. Thousands and thousands of Kerala people of different communities from the lowest untouchables to the highest Brahmins had their schooling in Christian institutions. Instead of interfering with the progress of education the rulers of the States which comprise the Kerala of today, gave Christians encouragement to go ahead in spreading literacy.

This background is necessary to understand the implications of the new Education Bill which threatens to take control of all primary and secondary schools in private management. In other words, it means the Communist Government is seeking legislative power even to take possession of the school buildings of Christians. In their enthusiasm to spread education, Christians had built schools on church premises and even church rooms were used for primary classes. The Government attempt is to take them over and to bring them under control of Communist bodies to be set up in every village. It would mean Communist occupying parts of church buildings or buildings belonging to the church and denouncing God in whose honour they are built. As every one knows, in the Communist world God has been officially abolished. Karl Marx is their God. It would be an assault on the fundamental rights of the citizens as also on the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution. Realising the legal complications in their attempt, the Communists have made this Bill beyond the purview of the courts.

Education in Kerala is not a wild goose-chase. Already there have been laws and regulations regarding primary and secondary schools and all private institutions are working in conformity with them. For instance, all Christian schools are thrown open to boys and girls of every community and caste. Even the teachers are non –denominational and non-communal. Schools follow the educational code. Religious instructions in Christian schools are given only to Christian students and that too outside school hours.

The grand idea of the Communist Government is to deprive the youth of the country a free education- free from dialectical materialism. In fact, the attempt is to instill into every boy and girl from the primary stage of education Communist ideas and ideologies. Nowhere in India has such an experiment been attempted. The aim is not to provide better education, but to mould the younger generation in the Communist pattern. This apart, there is an immediate intriguing political aspect which may be discussed on a later occasion

(The Hindustan Standard-11th July, 1957)
Note:- “Homa” is the pen-name of Shri K.P. Thomas of Kottayam, Journalist and biographer