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Lord, hear our prayers

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Although the language and lyrics may vary, most schools across the country begin each day with prayer songs. This was the practice in all the government and private schools where each of us studied and grew up. The same was the practice at Florets International School in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur, until earlier this month when a parent filed a complaint at the instigation of BJP leaders, and the school was shut by local administrators. There was something special about the prayer songs of the school in Kanpur - a noble feature that most schools in the country cannot claim. Prayers from four religious scriptures were chanted there. They started their days beautifully with a lesson that contemporary India must surely remember to love and respect all religions. Apart from the Hindu, Christian, and Sikh faiths, prayers from Islamic scriptures were also recited there. It is this inclusiveness that prompted BJP leaders to raise objections and accusations of a conspiracy. For the saffron-clad army, who are preparing to subvert even the Constitution to implement their communal agenda, this display of brotherhood is far from pleasing. A complaint was lodged with the police alleging that the school was conducting a 'Shiksha Jihad' aimed at converting children.

This school was started in 2003. The principal of the school, Ankita Yadav clarifies that since then, the prayers of the four religious codes have been chanted here with the aim of upholding religious brotherhood. Now, the school administrators have been booked for this laudable and exemplary act in the name of hurting religious sentiments. Apart from this, a case has been booked under the infamous Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021. In the backdrop of such unexpected developments, they decided to skip prayers from religious books and sing only the national anthem, but by then the school had to be closed. Ravi Rajput, the parent of the student at the school, says that he filed the complaint as per the request of Geeta Nigam, president of the Mahila Morcha in Kanpur. He never thought that the incident would become so controversial or that the school would be closed. Through such a case and campaign, the Sangh Parivar is giving a message that it will not allow or tolerate any kind of religious or cultural affiliation with Muslims. The new generation is not interested in any of the divisive ideas of their elders. They want to excel and be technically competent in this competitive world. However, such controversies and ruckus which are created by focusing on educational institutions are to draw the boundaries of sectarianism among the kids.

The hijab ban in Karnataka was created with the same goal, which turned children, who until the day before knew no difference, had studied together and shared food, into adversaries and strangers. Earlier, Sangh Parivar's attacks were frequent against the Christian community which opened schools and did educational work in tribal and backward areas, by accusing them of conversion. Getting the schools entangled in this case should be seen as a continuation of the encroachments made in the education sector by distorting the curriculum and communalizing the textbooks. It is worrisome that our public consciousness is not concerned or shaken by this kind of intrusion into schools by the Sangh Parivar, which has communalized the entire sector. It has to be said that apart from occasional pronouncements emanating from judges of some courtrooms, as heard in movies, the judiciary does not intervene enough to curb communal agendas. Are we going on a path where praying to God with folded hands and melting hearts is the only way to save ourselves from the communal agenda that divides even the young minds of the country?

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TAGS:Kanpur school morning prayers Florets International School Muslim prayer in multi-religious prayers Geeta Nigham Mahila Morcha 
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