Bhopal School Asks Students to Make Shivlings, Muslims Protest
After books, saffronisation enters school campuses in MP through a Shivling making workshop.
Around hundred Muslim students of a government girls’ school in Bhopal boycotted a workshop, organised by the authorities, that required the participants to make Shivlings aka Shiva Lingams from clay. The principal of the school reportedly told students to participate in the workshop if they want good marks in exams.
It has been alleged by the Muslim students that they they were locked in a separate classroom for protesting against the move. The girls were later sent home. Bhopal’s Kamla Nehru Girls Higher Secondary School is located at the heart of the city in TT Nagar (new market).
Yagna in Govt School
Though the workshop was conducted in presence of a few officials from the school education department, there was no attempt to stop such religious activity from taking place within the premises. Students of different communities study at this government school.
The principal of the school, Nisha Kamrani, apparently told the students to prepare Shivlings with dedication if they want to prosper in life.
If you wish to score good marks in the examination and desire to get a good job, then prepare a Shivling with utmost dedication.Nisha Kamrani, Principal
A priest was also present on the occassion who performed a yagna (ritualistic Hindu prayer) by chanting Sanskrit mantras on a microphone.
Muslim Students Boycott the Workshop
When the Muslim students seemed to be hesitant to take part in this religious activity, they were asked to sit in another room and were allegedly locked by school authorities. When the girls protested further, they were asked to go home.
While some teachers also participated in the puja, which was organised to celebrate the auspicious month of sawan, and pay obeisance to Lord Shiva, some were not pleased with the activity. A teacher, who did not wish to be named, said, “Conducting such religion-specific activity was not appropriate.”
Such activities made a group of students uncomfortable. Finally, they had to go home as no classes were held for the day.A teacher on condition of anonymity
After the students were done with the task of making Shivlings, a bhandara (feast) was also organised by the school authorities.
No Prior Notice
A class 10 student of the school, Shaista (name changed), said that a day before the programme respective class teachers had made announcements about it.
But nothing was spoken about any such religion-specific activity.Shaista
Another student, Afreen Suleman (name changed) said, “When we denied to take part in the activity as it’s against our religious belief, we were told that our marks would be deducted.”
‘No Complaint by Girls’
When the matter was raised before the Minister of State for School Education Deepak Joshi
, he said, “
The matter was brought to my notice, but no complaint has been filed by any girl.”
The school administration did not force anyone to take part in it (workshop). Those who did not participate were allowed to leave.Deepak Joshi, Minister of State for School Education
Both the principal, Nisha Kamrani, as well as Vice Principal Saini refused to comment on the issue. A press release issued by the school authorities said, “Keeping in line with the Indian tradition, a ‘Shiv Abhishek’ or ‘Mahamrityunjay Jap’ was organised on 29 July.”
Yagna and puja were performed on the occasion by Mahant Hariram Das. Message of spirituality was spread by making 2,100 Shivlings at the function.Press release by Kamla Nehru Girls Higher Secondary School, Bhopal
(The writer is a Bhopal-based freelance journalist. He can be reached @MallickKakvi.)
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