Tuesday, February 23, 2021

India's Hindu Nationalist Government Cancels Scheduled Exam On Cows

New York Times reports that in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has postponed offering a widely criticized exam on cows for which 500,000 people had already registered:

Critics said the curriculum, devised by the National Cow Commission set up by Mr. Modi’s government, was an especially bold move by his ruling party to push its  ideology and undercut the secularism that is enshrined in India’s Constitution but seems to be increasingly imperiled with each passing day....

Many academics see the fact that a government body tried to push a curriculum on cows — one that included many completely unsubstantiated claims — as evidence that the government has increasingly fallen under the sway of Hindu supremacist groups like the R.S.S., in which Mr. Modi and many top officials were once active....

The test was not made mandatory, but India’s University Grants Commission, a federal agency, encouraged students — in fact, all citizens — to study the material and take the exam as an extracurricular activity.

Critics across the country urged the cow commission to call off the exam, saying students would feel pressured by the government to take it. They said parents would urge their children to take the exam, because the government was planning to issue a certificate that could be helpful to the students’ future careers. The commission also dangled prize money for top scorers.