Mantras codified laws of motion: After Darwin theory, Satyapal Singh targets Newton’s laws

India’s junior education minister Satyapal Singh said that mantras codified the ‘laws of motion’ much before they were framed by Issac Newton and suggested that Vaastu compliance of educational buildings was important for learning, according to the minutes of the meeting of the government’s highest advisory body for policymaking in education.

Singh was speaking at a January 15 and 16 meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) attended by several Union ministers and education ministers of most of Indian states.

“There are mantras which codified ‘laws of motion’ much before it was discovered by the Newton. Hence it is essential that traditional knowledge must be incorporated in our curriculum,” the minutes of the meeting quoted Singh, a former Mumbai police commissioner, as saying.

In January, Singh had said that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was “scientifically wrong” and needed to be changed in school and college curriculum. “Since the man is seen on Earth, he has always been a man,” he had said, adding that our ancestors had not mentioned anywhere that they saw an ape turn into a man. Suggestions at the meeting from other state ministers included replacing “Yes, sir” in classrooms with “Jai Hind” and singing the national anthem and hoisting the national flag in schools across the country.

One minister suggested syllabuses be remodelled towards “culture-based education”.

Kunwar Vijay Shah, the minister of school education from Madhya Pradesh, said: “The practice of saying ‘yes sir/yes ma’am’ during the school attendance should be replaced with the Jai Hind word.” He also asked for the “national flag hoisting and national anthem (to) be made compulsory in all the schools”.

Mahesh Sharma, minister of state (independent charge) for culture environment, forests and climate change, said that value- and culture-based education was the need of the hour. He suggested that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) should remodel the syllabus towards culture-based education. He also highlighted the need for “integrating education and culture to instil pride in our youth”.

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