A popular private school in Bangalore has sent an email to all its alumni asking for them to go on to Google maps and change the name of Gyanvapi mosque to “Gyanvapi temple.”
The New Horizon Public School (NHPS) had sent this mass email to its alumni on 20 May, Friday evening. The Quint has accessed a copy of the mail.
“You are requested to do it and ask our Hindu brothers and sisters to do it till google update this changes,” the mail reads.
The mail, titled ‘Gyanvapi temple instead of gyanvapi mosque’, also has a list of directions the alumni have been asked to follow in order to change the name of the Gyanvapi mosque. The mail comes at a time when there is a heated controversy and an ongoing court case surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi.
Speaking to The Quint, many of the school’s alumni expressed shock on receiving the email, but also alleged that this is in line with the “overt political and ideological positioning” adopted by the school in the recent years.
The New Horizon educational group had earlier donated to the Ram Mandir Trust, held a bhoomi poojan ceremony in the school on occasion of the Ram Mandir groundbreaking, and also made its staff mandatorily attend a screening of The Kashmir Files.
After the school received backlash from some alums over the Gyanvapi email, the NHPS subsequently put out a statement on its Instagram page addressing the issue. The statement said: "We wish to clarify that the email was sent without proper screening procedures that is required for all our email communications."
Mandatory 'Kashmir Files' Screening By School
The New Horizon Educational Institute is a private group which comprises of multiple educational institutions—the NHPS school, the NH Pre University College, two NH undergraduate colleges, and one NH Engineering college—all based in Bangalore.
The New Horizon Educational Institute had rolled out a memo in March this year, informing all its students that it is organising tickets for the movie The Kashmir Files "for all students and staff members."
“It is mandatory for all staff members to attend,” a post put out by the NHPS on its Instagram page said.
The same post was shared on the Instagram and Linkedin pages of the other four degree colleges part of the New Horizon group.
In the comment section of the posts, comments can be seen by several students and alumni questioning why the screening has been made mandatory for the staff.
'Bhoomi Poojan' in School To Celebrate Ram Mandir
Moreover, on 5 August 2020, when the Ram Temple bhoomi poojan (groundbreaking ceremony) was performed in Ayodhya, the school had organised a bhoomi poojan inside its premises on the same occasion.
The school had extended an invite to all its students as well as alumni for the same.
Subsequently, ‘The Story of Ram Mandir: A Timeline’ was also shared as a post on the school’s Instagram handle where it has detailed the history of the Ram Janmbhoomi movement culminating with the groundbreaking ceremony of the temple.
Donations to VHP and Ram Mandir Trust
The New Horizon group is owned and run by Mohan Manghnani, who is also the chairperson.
In 2015, Manghnani's picture with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was shared by the PIB India Twitter handle when he donated Rs 5 Crore to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
On analysing the ‘social outreach’ donations made by the school, The Quint found that the institute has given donations to the Ram Mandir Trust as well as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
As per the social outreach page of the institute, it had donated a sum of Rupees Five Lakhs to VHP in 2019, Rupees 5 crore to the ‘Shri Rama Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra’ in 2020, and presented this cheque (or a separate one) to the RSS Joint General Secretary Mukund C R in 2021.
'Right-Wing Propaganda by School': Alumni
While the NHPS did put out a statement clarifying that the Gyanvapi email wasn't properly screened before being sent out, they haven't yet responded to The Quint's queries.
The Quint had reached out to the New Horizon Public School’s principal, as well as the group’s chairman Manghnani via email with a detailed questionnaire about the other activities taking place in the school, but there was no response. The Quint also called Kirthi Manghnani, daughter of the chairman, whose linkedin says she is a partner at the New Horizon group. A family member who attended the call said that Kirthi will call the reporter back, but there has been no response yet. The Quint also spoke to the group’s admin staff on phone call, who asked for the queries to be sent to the registrar’s email ID, but there has been no response from that ID either. The report will be updated when there is a response from any of the above.
On condition of anonymity, many New Horizon school and college alumna said they have noticed an increasing “trend of right-wing politics being promoted by the school”.
“I graduated from school before 2014. Even then there was a lot of religiosity in the school and its teachings, but nothing of this sort ever happened. Since the alumni are kept in the loop about all the events at the school and colleges part of the New Horizon group, we have seen just how much propaganda is unleashed by them. The worst part is the students and alums are expected to participate in all this propaganda,” an alum said, on condition of anonymity.
While all the present students and staff of the New Horizon group were asked to attend the screening of The Kashmir Files, the alumni were sent a lengthy email praising the movie.
The mail, undersigned by the school’s principal Anupama Sethi, delves into the “subtle detail in #KashmirFiles that most of you may have missed.”
The several paragraphs’ long mail concludes,
“...Who is Arjuna? It is you, the audience. Because at the end of it you are the Dhanurdharis. You have to decide whether you want to stand up to Adharma or not.
Finally, what did we lose in this whole genocide? Sharada (Bhasha Sumbli) - in other words knowledge or Saraswati. Kashmir and the Kashmiri Pandits who held the seat of our Knowledge for milleniums has been mūrdëred.
I think this subtle meta detail is the genius in this movie. Thank you Vivek Agnihotri . I wanted the world to recognise this.”