Ahead of Independence Day, the mayor of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Avtar Singh, has issued a circular directing all north Delhi schools to hang photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind on their campuses.
According to The Indian Express, the circular says that the photos must be installed before August 15 to imbibe feelings of nationalism among school students. Singh said that the photos shall be placed in the principal’s office of every school.
“These children will be the future of [sic] country and in their hands will be the country’s responsibility,” states the circular. “Pictures of these greats will inspire the children, who will be in the future part of the country’s democratic process [sic].”
The Indian Express quoted Singh as saying, “… it is also important for them to know the PM and president of the country.”
Similar directives have emerged in the past with civic bodies and state ministers asking schools to install portraits of the prime minister as well as army men – all in the name of instilling nationalism among students.
Last year, in June, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation proposed to rename schools under its jurisdiction after army men and freedom fighters who laid down their lives for the country, the Indian Express reported.
According to Nandini Sharma, chairman of south civic body’s education committee, the corporation also planned to install statues of freedom fighters and army men inside schools. However, it remains unclear whether the proposal was put in place.
Similarly, in 2017, the education department of Goa instructed all schools to put up portraits of the prime minister and the president for students to know more about them, Deccan Herald reported.
According to then chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the instruction was part of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development’s rule under which it is mandatory for schools to hang portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, the prime minister and the president.
That same year, the Chhattisgarh government also asked all government schools in the state to put up pictures of the prime minister and the president on their premises, the Indian Express reported.
Back then, leader of opposition and senior congress leader T. S. Singhdeo criticised the move saying, “This is a complete waste of public money for personal benefit. If there have to be photographs of anyone at all, it should be of people who have inspired education, and not political leaders who may or may not be here beyond their terms. Politics must certainly be kept away from schools, and the children who study in them.”
Featured image credit: PTI