Students studying online in a WhatsApp group in India sang the National Anthem of the country as well as that of Pakistan and Bangladesh. The incident, however, did not go well among some parents. It has kicked up a row and the teacher passed on the spanner to the private school management.
The incident took place in a town of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand province– part of Bihar until the 1990s.
Owing to the Coronavirus outbreak in India, all educational institutions remain closed. Classes are now being conducted online. The homework was assigned to the students via their WhatsApp group, reported Dainik Bhaskar.
In order to ease the learning process, the teacher shared YouTube videos, featuring the National Anthem of the two countries, in the official WhatsApp group of the class. The students were also asked to remember the national symbols of both Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“That’s a no no. But every political action has quantum social reaction,” says an observer, pointing out to an emerging “Intolerant India” as the Economist recently wrote.
The sheen of secularism and pluralism are coming off with the “Hindutva” doctrine being pushed by PM Modi-led BJP Government in the country, the observer says.
In a press statement, the BJP’s state unit general secretary was critical: “The future of the children is dark and unsecured in such private schools, which ask children to learn Pakistan and Bangladesh anthems for homework.”
India has the world’s second largest population — 1.2 billion and nearly 20% of its population consist of Muslims –the world’s largest Muslim minority community which has almost the same or exceeding the combined population of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The two-nation theory (Hindu-Muslim separate entities) partitioned the subcontinent as the British colonial setup wrapped up post WWII.
Modi government’s recent moves to frontend Hindu ideology as the main plank of its nationalistic support base has made the country’s minorities worried and neighbors unnerved. Independent reports and opinion pieces in several international media outlets say there has been uptick in official cases of Muslims-related hate-crimes and lynching.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has designated India as a country of “Particular Concern” (CPC) in its annual report of 2020, saying the country was “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations”.