Many eyebrows were raised in the Muslim-dominated neighbourhood of Juhapura in urban Ahmedabad, when schools were asked to include in their morning assembly ritual songs supposedly linked to the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Oddly enough, one of the two songs that the government asked Muslim majority schools to include was Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn, Vaishnav Jana To, which is composed in Gujarati.
The other, Manushya Tu Bada Mahaan Hai, is said to be linked to the RSS. The schools themselves have not refused to get their students to sing these songs – as nothing in them can be described as being overtly Hindu or dismissive of any other religion.
However, the inclusion of the song may be interpreted elsewhere as a part of the ruling Bharatia Janta Party’s (BJP) agenda to impose Hindu ideology and culture on the country’s minorities. The state of Gujarat witnessed one of the worst episodes of Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002, when the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Gujarat’s chief minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2015.
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