Friday, May 21, 2010
BMC's Hindutva diktat upsets schools
MUMBAI: In what appears to be a medieval fatwa, the Sena-BJP-ruled BMC has sought to make it mandatory for the 150-odd missionary-run schools in the city to promote 'Hindutva traditions'. The municipal corporation's education committee will now write to the state education department seeking permission to enforce its widening list of demands. The move has caused widespread anguish among both parents and the academic community, with experts pointing out that these diktats have no legal standing. The missionary schools have threatened to go to court if they are made to toe the parties' line. On Tuesday, the saffron combine had proposed that these institutions allow their students to wear their 'Indian-ness' in the form of bindis and bangles. A day later, it hardened its stance, with demands like more holidays for Ganpati and Diwali, a corporators' quota in these schools similar to that given to MLAs, a school notice board prominently displaying the names of corporators in the education committee, and all communication to the BMC to be written in Marathi. "While reviewing proposals from BMC-aided schools, we came across many missionary schools who had written to us in English. And many corporators observed that while these schools approach the BMC for aid, they do not adhere to Hindu traditions. If these missionaries come here to impart education, they should adhere to Hindu traditions as most of the students are Hindus. Why should they forbid girls from wearing bindis or bangles or even using mehendi? What is the need for such rigid discipline?" asked education committee chairperson Rukmini Kharatmol.