For Independence Day this year, the government has a plan. They want schools across the country to celebrate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'New India Mission' in mind. However, the West Bengal government has decided to ignore the circular that has been sent to them by the Centre.
The Bengal government has ordered schools to ignore the circular and to carry on their celebrations like every year.
On August 7, The ministry of human resource development issued a circular asking schools to organise a set of programmes revolving around Independence Day. The circular asked every school to arrange a "Sankalp programme" near "Shaheed Smaraks" — constructed as memorials to freedom struggle or war martyrs or those who have fallen to terrorism — or on school campuses, reports Times Of India.
"It is desirable that this momentous occasion should be celebrated with an objective to create a festive and patriotic mood across the nation and a movement is created to involve every citizen of this country in the mission of realising the vision of a new India, which is clean and free from poverty, corruption, terrorism, communalism and casteism," the circular stated.
The government also wanted the school teachers and students to take part in an oath-taking ceremony, where they vow to rid the country of the five problems of poverty, corruption, terrorism, communalism and casteism by 2022.
Announcing that the state will not follow the central government's ruled, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that the "feeling of patriotism cannot be forced down someone".
"We are not necessarily opposing the centre's proposal. But we have said that we will celebrate in our own way. We will not take lessons on patroitism from the BJP. The party at the centre has no right to give whip and dictate others about patriotism," Chatterjee told IANS.
He also said the ministry's proposal of videographing celebrations in all the schools in the state is not realistic and can not be followed.
"It is not possible to conduct the proposed videography of the celebration of the entire 2 lakh schools," he said.
In turn, the state government sent a counter-circular. "It has been decided by the state School Education Department that Independence Day 2017 will not be celebrated in this manner." Naturally, the BJP ministers aren't very happy about the decision.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar called West Bengal's decision 'unfortunate'. "I will talk to them. What we have proposed is a secular agenda, not a political party agenda," he said.
State Bharatiya Janata Party chief Dilip Ghosh also expressed disappointment. "We are seeing some disturbing tendencies. The state government is behaving as if West Bengal is not a part of India. There is a tendency to defy all rules and regulations. This is a suicidal though process," he told IANS.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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