In recent times, there have been countless incidents highlighting the growing religious intolerance in our country, and sadly enough, the claws of communalism have even infiltrated our educational institutes. From the hijab ban in Karnataka to a professor calling a Muslim student a terrorist, there have been many heartbreaking incidents that have come to light.
Yet another unfortunate incident in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly has taken place, where a government-school principal was suspended by the state's education department, and as per reports, an inquiry is likely to be set up against him. This happened after some right-wing groups filed a complaint against the school because the students were singing a 'Muslim prayer' during their morning assembly.
The prayer in question is 'Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua', written by Allama Muhammad Iqbal in 1902, which is a common prayer sung in Urdu-medium schools. Iqbal, the writer, is famously known for writing the patriotic song 'Saare Jahan Se Accha'.
A video of the students singing the prayer is going viral on the internet. In the clip, the students can be heard singing these lines: "mere allah burai se bachaana mujhko (My Allah, save me from the negativity)."
According to the reports, the police filed the complaint because the prayer is not part of the schedule of government schools and is related to a religion. The police official said, "The prayer was not part of the approved list and pertained to a community."
After the suspension of the principal, many users have taken to Twitter to voice their concerns about the actions of authorities. Some users pointed out that the prayer does not refer to any particular religion; additionally, in a country like India, where secularism and different religions are celebrated, having objections to a prayer is disappointing.
One user wrote, "This is so absurd. I learned this beautiful poem in the 70s in India. We sang it along with a range of prayers, poems, songs. In a Catholic school, where most staff and students were Hindu. It does not belong to a particular religion or community. "
Another user wrote, "The same 'Iqbal' who wrote "Saare Jahan Se Achha"
Here are some more reactions:
(With inputs from NDTV)