A few months back, Banaras Hindu University had introduced a postgraduate programme titled ‘MA in Hindu Studies’. Reportedly, it was the first full-fledged master’s course in Hindu studies in the country. Now, it has been inaugurated on Tuesday as 45 students, including a foreigner, have been enrolled in the first batch of this two-year course.
BHU includes a ‘Hindu Dharma’ course
In what can be seen as a delighted moment for every Indian, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has welcomed the first batch of students for its newly-inducted Master’s course in Hindu Dharma. BHU director V K Shukla inaugurated the course at a programme organised on January 18.
He asserted that “the Hindu Studies course is an interdisciplinary programme in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.”
He further added “It is a matter of great pride for BHU that the two-year course was being conducted at Bharat Adhyayan Kendra, a centre established in the centenary year of the university. The course will make the world aware of many unknown aspects of the Hindu Dharma and help in spreading its teachings to more people.”
Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts director Vijay Shankar Shukla, while addressing the programme, highlighted the significance of the course on Hindu Studies. He said, “The idea behind this goes back to 18th Century scholar Ganganath Jha and travels through time to Mahamana. However, the link was broken for some reason. But, with the initiation of this course, the goal appears to have been achieved.”
The programme has been introduced with the combined effort of several departments at BHU like the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Department of Sanskrit, Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology and the Bharat Adhyayan Kendra (BAK).
BHU- an institution launching significant courses
The timetable of the first week comprises lectures on “Evolution of Hindu Dharma”, “What is Hindu Studies”, “The antiquity and the meaning of the term Hindu”, “Indian Epistemology & Metaphysics”, “Hindu of Foreign Origin” and “Hinduism & Brahmanism”.
Apart from the above lectures, the programme also includes the idea of women in the military, making of war strategy and its implementation, formation of soldiers, the art of wars and their formats. This is a commendable move by BHU to induct topics like the idea of women in the military, as women have always played a great role in war strategies in India’s rich history.
Earlier, BHU’s faculty of Ayurveda had started a paranormal sciences course that deals with psychosomatic disorders. Psychosomatic refers to the mind (psyche) and body (soma). The psychosomatic symptom manifests as a physiological consequence of an emotional state. For example, depression is a consequence of terminal cancer. The term psychosomatic disorder is also used when mental factors cause physical symptoms in the absence of physical disease.
For the unversed, BHU was established with the aim to fight the ‘prevailing poverty in India and the decline in income of Indians compared to Europeans’ by Malviya (Congress president three times-1909, 18, 32) and Annie Besant (Congress president-1917) – both of whom were fighting for India’s freedom and were active freedom fighters.