Varanasi, Dec 7: Students in Banaras Hindu University were left perplexed when they were asked questions on the nature of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Kautilya’s times in their MA political science exam. Another question asked the students to discuss Manu is the first Indian thinker of globalisation”. Both the questions were of 15 marks each.
The students said that the questions were out of their course on ‘Social and Political Thought in Ancient and Medieval India’. However, Professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra, who had set the question paper, argued that he had “interpreted the two thinkers and taught their philosophies through new and current examples like GST and globalisation”.
“It was my idea to introduce these examples to students. So what if these are not in the textbook? Isn’t it our job to find newer ways to teach,” he was quoted as saying by the Indian Express
One of the professors, who didn’t wish to be named, said that the two questions were not a part of their syllabus “Yes, Kautilya and Manu were influential thinkers of their times, but I doubt there was anything called GST or globalisation back then,” he said.
“Kautilya’s Arthashastra is the first Indian book which hints at the current concept of GST. The concept of GST primarily says that consumer gains the most…Kautilya had specified in his time that taxes on house construction be 20 per cent, gold and other metals 20 per cent, border tax 20 per cent, gardens 5 per cent, singers, dancers and artistes 50 per cent,” explained Mishra.
“Evidence of Manu’s teachings on religion, language and politics are found in China, Philippines, New Zealand. In New Zealand, the word for manav or man has been borrowed from Manu,” he added further.
While some students said that their professor had earlier dictated the answers and had specifically told them that they would get these questions in their exam, some argued the questions were not from their syllabus.
The head of the Political Science department also denied having set the question paper out of syllabus and said that no teacher “sets a paper out of his area of expertise and what he has taught”.