PILIBHIT – The district administration of Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit has suspended the headmaster of a government primary school in Bisalpur area for making students to recite well-known prayer song written by preeminent poet Allama Aqbal ‘Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua Ban Ke Tamanna Meri’ .
The action has been taken against the headmaster Furqan Ali following a complaint by local VHP workers. They alleged that the song, which is a part of their syllabus, is religious song and it is recited in madarsas during morning assembly, reported Indian Express.
“VHP and Hindu Yuva Vahini workers held protests outside the school and at the Collectorate, demanding my removal. I only got a poem, which is part of government school syllabus, sung. My students also raise patriotic slogans such as ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ every day during the assembly,” said Ali, whose right leg is polio-affected and he got the job under reservation for the physically disabled.
The song “lab pe aati hai dua”, was written in 1902 by Muhammad Iqbal. Iqbal also wrote “Sare jahaan se achccha, Hindustan Hamara”.
Pilibhit DM Vaibhav Srivastava, who was unaware of the findings of the BEO’s inquiry, said, “The headmaster was suspended because he was not getting the national anthem sung, and was making students sing a religious prayer.”
Denying the allegation, Ali maintained that the national anthem is sung “every day”.
On findings of the inquiry by Bisalpur’s Block Education Officer (BEO) Upendra Kumar, the DM changed his statement and said that the headmaster should have taken permission for making students recite different song .
“If he (headmaster) gets a poem recited and not the national anthem, then there is an offence against him. If he wanted do something different, he should have taken the government’s permission,” said Srivastva.
BEO Kumar and Bisalpur’s Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Devendra Swarup told The Indian Express that regular inspections have found that the national anthem is sung at the primary school. They also said the original complaint — by the VHP members — did not question whether the national anthem is sung or not. BSA Swarup said: “The BEO has told me that the national anthem was being sung at the school. That was not the issue. The complaint was regarding a prayer sung at madrasas, and not about the national anthem.”
Ali said the poem by Iqbal is part of the Urdu syllabus for classes I to VIII.
VHP district chief Ambarish Mishra said he opposed a “madrasa prayer” being recited at a government primary school. “We gave a written complaint to the BSA demanding action against the headmaster for getting a different prayer recited at government school,” said Mishra .
On Monday, an order issued by BSA Devendra Swarup states (translated from Hindi): “As per a viral video on social media, it came to our knowledge that at Primary School, Ghayaspur, students are being made to sing a different prayer other than the commonly accepted one. School headmaster Mohammad Furkan Ali prima facie has been found responsible for this and thus he has been suspended.”