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Ram Lalla consecration day celebrations in Rajasthan schools come in for flak

Rajasthan School Shiksha Parishad recently brought out the calendar listing the festivals and occasions to be celebrated annually. The consecration of Ram Lalla on January 22, a new entry, has found a place in the calendar although the way of celebrations has not been specified yet.
Last Updated : 10 July 2024, 13:57 IST

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Jaipur: The Rajasthan government’s move to celebrate Ram Lalla pran prathishta (consecration) ceremony annually in schools has come in for flak from various quarters with some saying it is a direct attack on the secular fabric of our country and others seeing it as a purely political ploy to gain brownie points.

Rajasthan School Shiksha Parishad recently brought out the calendar listing the festivals and occasions to be celebrated annually. The consecration of Ram Lalla on January 22, a new entry, has found a place in the calendar although the way of celebrations has not been specified yet.

There are general directives that students should know about the importance of these days and occasions and they should have discussions and probably painting competitions in context of the festivals and important days to create more awareness early on.

On January 22 this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the consecration of Ram Lalla at the majestic Ram mandir built in Ayodhya.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), one of India’s largest human rights organisations, has criticised the move and demanded its revocation. It says that secularism is one of the founding principles of our Constitution and is also emphasised in the New Education Policy. It is imperative that all schools and educational institutes inculcate a feeling of respect and love for all religions amongst the students and encourage them to put it into practice.

It also mentioned that celebrating pran prathishta day goes against the tenets of secularism and seems an attempt to build up a particular narrative that is likely to hurt the sentiments of other communities.

It has also accused the state education minister Madan Dilawar, who is said to have a strong RSS background, of following a particular agenda. He earlier made Surya Namaskar mandatory in all schools, a move which faced opposition at various levels.

Kavita Srivastav, national president, PUCL, says the consecration ceremony of Ram mandir is neither a religious festival nor it has ever been a part of any traditions followed by Hindu religious calendar. “It is only being implemented in schools to score political brownie points and there is nothing remotely religious about the whole move. In fact many pundits had said the day was not auspicious enough. And celebrating it across schools would definitely send a wrong message amongst our future generation.”

She adds : "The act of consecration of the temple as part of the history of India, must be read as an act of erasure of the secular history of a plural and diverse Indian republic devoted to the constitutional ideal of equality of all persons regardless of faith or creed.”

Political observers believe the move is purely political and also emphasize that education minister Madan Dilawar comes from the core RSS stock and will definitely try to further their agenda in whichever way possible.

Also with the by-elections in five Assembly seats and panchayat elections coming up, BJP is bent on cashing in on the Ram mandir issue.

Narayan Bareth, political analyst, says; “The Ram mandir issue did not pay them enough dividends in the recent Lok Sabha elections.So if you make the celebrations mandatory in schools, it is likely to resonate amongst all again, especially our future generations, who would form an emotional link with the day, dedicating it exclusively to Ram Lalla. Moreover it would be a strong polarising factor, obviously other communities especially minorities would be upset and protest, maybe not outrightly but of course on their own platforms and corners. With such a move polarisation would be complete and it is likely to benefit BJP the most.”

In the Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s performance was not satisfactory as it won 14 seats, losing 11 this time. In the 2014 and 2019 elections, BJP had made a complete sweep of 25 seats in the state.

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Published 10 July 2024, 13:57 IST

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