In what critics think is a Tughlaki farman, the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government in Madhya Pradesh has made it mandatory for students to answer roll calls with “Jai Hind”. The diktat was issued by school education minister Vijay Shah. He said that the decision was taken to promote patriotism among students.
Satna has been chosen as a model district to implement the order where this practice will be introduced from October 1, a month before implementing the same in all schools across the state. As per the local media reports, from November 1, all schools will have to follow the order.
“Jai Hind is acceptable to students of all religions so I have decided to introduce it. We just want to keep our culture alive which our young generation is forgetting,” Shah was quoted as saying by local media.
However, a section of the media, educationists and political parties opposed the order saying that the government should focus more on education rather than promoting patriotism among the students. Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesperson KK Mishra said that it was not only undemocratic but it showed the hollowness of the government’s education policy.
“Those who begged Britishers for their life, pension and other allowances will teach kids lessons in patriotism? The BJP government does not have any moral right to talk about ‘Jai Hind’ as its predecessors worked against the spirit of ‘Jai Hind’ during the time of the Freedom struggle.”
National Secretary of Progressive Writer’s Association (PWA), Vineet Tiwari, condemned the move and told National Herald that patriotism could not be forcefully taught. “It is a part of a larger design to saffronise impressionable minds. This will create divisions in the society. Whether it is Bharat Mata Ki Jai or Vande Matram, no government has rights to impose them on students,” he added.
MP Teachers’ Association general secretary Ashutosh Pandey was reported by the local media to have said that the Shivraj Singh government was trying to forcefully instil the feeling of patriotism.
“If they really want that students should feel proud about their country, they should provide them with the best education and facilities. The term is not enough to make students patriotic,” he was mentioned as saying.
According to a study by the Child Rights and You (CRY), 94 per cent schools in MP have“significant infrastructural gaps” in compliance of the Right to Education Act, 2009. The situation remained the same even six years after the Act was implemented. Indian Express has recently reported that Open School students cleared Class X and XII examinations without sitting for them in Madhya Pradesh.