Mr. Katheria was speaking at the Lucknow University on Saturday at celebrations of Hindavi Swaraj Diwas Samaroh marking the 342nd coronation year of Maratha warrior-king Shivaji. Sharing the dias with the Minister was Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik who presided over the function.
The Agra MP said: “Some journalists ask if we are we are promoting saffronisation of education. I am saying, yes, there will be saffronisation of education and of the country. Jo acha hoga, woh hoga (Whatever is good for the country will certainly happen) be it saffronisation or sanghwaad (propagation of the RSS ideology).”
Elaborating on the theme, Mr. Katheria said the need of the hour was to create a curriculum that would increase the nation’s samman (honour) and swabhimaan (self-respect) in the world. “We kept silent for such a long time and never accused anybody. But today the circumstances in the country are such.”
Amid applause from the audience, Mr Katheria rhetorically asked, “If we do not study the history of Maharana Pratap and Shivaji Maharaj then will we study the history of Genghis Khan?”
The minister’s remarks provoked criticism on social media and across political parties with Congress Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes P.L. Punia calling the remarks “highly objectionable and anti-national.”
“Saffornisation does not represent the entire Indian society. You say ‘Indianisation,’ why saffronisation? Every policy must be centred around India as a whole and not part of it. The government of India is supposed to look into the interests of all sections of the society, not one section .
Mr Katheria is not new to controversy. Earlier this year, at a condolence meeting for a murdered VHP worker in Agram, he delivered “hate-speech” against Muslims, which led to uproar in Parliament.