Bengaluru: Forced to recite sloka, boy’s parents slam school

One of the students from a minority community raised objections and refused to recite it on Monday

Bengaluru: The school prayer that is recited in majority of schools across the state and country – Vakratunda Mahakaya, Surya Koti Sama Prabha’ – sparked off a controversy at a school in Bengaluru as one of the students from a minority community raised objections and refused to recite it on Monday. The issue turned ugly on Tuesday as the boy’s parents and some activists took the school principal and the administrator to task.

While the student’s parents claimed that the reputed school in Jayanagar made their ward recite the prayers forcibly and repeatedly during the school assembly, the school authorities said that he was made to recite the prayer as he was the head boy of the school and the other students had to follow him.

The boy’s mother told Deccan Chronicle, “I had told my son not to recite any Hindu prayer and to remain silent when the school prayers are being sung. On Monday, the school principal not only made our son repeat the slokas, but she also insulted the boy in front of the entire assembly.”

On Tuesday, the boy’s parents and activists of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights confronted the principal and the administrator and sought an explanation for the incident.

“Since the parents have brought up this issue, it will be left to the discretion of the parents whether their wards should take part in the assembly or not. The parents who have issues with their wards reciting the school prayer can write a one-line note that their wards will not recite the prayers, and the management will let them sit in their class while the assembly is held,” said Padmaja Menon, the school principal.

Not on a day when Dr Kalam is being mourned: Principal

“It’s ironical that on the day we are mourning the death of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who was totally secular, we had to discuss this issue in the school. I requested the parents to have a scientific approach towards academics of their wards and let them have a broader perspective of life and religion. After the International Yoga Day, a third standard student said he did not want to do ‘Surya Namaskara’ as his father had asked him not to. Sun is the source of energy, without which no life is possible and it has got nothing to do with any God or religion, its all about 10-12 asanas. We teach the students the scientific meaning and that’s what we do at our school, to impart education and knowledge of everything. The parents should leave the decision on learning to their children. The head boy who is the brightest student in our school looked to be in a confused state today, wondering whether his parents were right or his school was right."
– Padmaja Menon, school principal, Bengaluru

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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