Social. Political. Economic. Career| Seyed Ibrahim

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Breeding contempt: a deliberate choice?

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Ms. Kanimozhi Karunanidhi wrote an op-ed piece in the Hindu Dt Dec 10th. Excerpts:

“…let us examine the small incidents that contribute to the rift that seems to envelop the minds of most of us..”
“Today is Bakrid, an important festival for Muslims. .. There is a sizeable number of educational institutions run privately that decide to work on this day… A few days ago, in a particular school, when the teacher announced a project work for this day, a Muslim student expressed his inability to attend school on that day. She answers him, in a matter-of-fact manner: “Students who do not come to school on that day can consider themselves as failed.”

“This would look like a minor incident. But ask the child. I can imagine the anger, the fear, the sense of being excluded, that moment would have created in the mind of the child. When the teacher spoke to him thus, did he feel he was queer? That he was different from the 50-odd students in the class? Will he search for answers when he gets out of school? I can cite many such examples of exclusion and the communal politics that leads to a few more — or fewer — red letters in a school calendar”

There were many letters to the editors. One of them talking about how many holidays can a school have, conveniently forgetting that Muslims have less festival days (just 2 Eids) than the Hindu festival days on many months. How long are the schools closed for Pongal, Pooja, Diwali? Not less than 2 days.

Here’s my response to the Editor:

“Dear Sir,

Ms. Kanimozhi’s article explains the various discriminatory practices. The solution is not really accommodating every religious holiday (Though I must point out that Muslims have only two Eid days), or allowing all types of food. Teachers and Principals should be sensitive to the psychological needs of our children.

Even as they don’t permit non-veg food, they should explain the reasons (sensitivity of other students) and educate them. If any student can’t come to School to celebrate his/her festival, the teachers should accommodate it. Words like “Students who do not come to school on that day can consider themselves as failed” tells us that teacher is horribly insensitive

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Written by S Ibrahim

Dec 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

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