New Delhi. Taking note of the development that “secularism” was back in the limelight after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded a secular Prime Ministerial candidate for NDA, Delhi University has launched a course in secularism – Bachelor of Secularism or B.Sc.
“There will be no minimum qualification needed to get admitted to the course,” DU vice-chancellor Prof. Dinesh Singh informed, “We thought we would lose out on a big pool of potential candidates – political leaders of India – if we insist on some educational qualifications.”
The course will help students learn different types of secularism and become a certified secular after successfully completing the course.
“We have often seen a person’s secular credentials being questioned, so we thought we’d start awarding such credentials,” Prof. Singh said.
When asked if the university had acquired the necessary rights to issue certificates of secularism – something that has been the prerogative of a few intellectuals and political leaders – Prof. Singh said that time had come when different centers started issuing certificates of secularism.
“Traditionally an institute like JNU or a politician like Digvijay Singh would issue certificates of secularism, but we think that this trend needs to be changed,” he said.
“In fact, we’d be awarding degrees,” he added.
The proposed course will be of three year duration. Participants would be exposed to different types of secularism in the first two years. The student can choose to specialize in an area or go for a ‘pass course’ in the final year of the course.
The different types of secularism, as identified for the course curriculum, are – Western Secularism (separation of the Church and the State), Gandhian Secularism (equal respect to all religions), Nehruvian Secularism (equal confusion towards all religions), Atheistic Secularism (equal disrespect to all religions), Pseudo Secularism (more respect to the minority religions), and Indian Secularism (no definition; pass course, no specialization).
“We were also thinking of offering specialization in Instant Secularism (opposition to Narendra Modi) but we think one doesn’t need to study for three years for this, so we are sticking to the five areas of specialization,” Prof. Singh informed.
The announcement by Delhi University has received mixed reactions. Many students have welcomed the move to have no minimum educational qualification as cut-off marks for admission to DU colleges were already going sky high, but some question the utility of such a course.
“Will being secular get me a day job?” wondered a class 12th student.
Also, as expected, the course has already landed into a political controversy.
“What about reservations during admission? Secularism without social justice is useless,” demanded a leader from a regional party, “Also, a minority institution like St. Stephen’s College should have more autonomy in running such courses than a college like Hindu College.”
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has promised to look into such concerns. “If DU doesn’t fall in line, we will authorize JNU to launch M.Sc. – Master of Secularism – course,” Sibal told Faking News.