Students of Gujarat schools will answer roll calls with 'Jai Hind' or 'Jai Bharat' instead of the current 'yes sir' and 'present sir' from January 1 in order to foster patriotism, a notification issued by the Directorate of Primary Education and Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) stated on Monday. It lays down that students of Class 1-12 in government, grant-in-aid and self-financed schools will have to respond to the attendance call with "Jai Hind" or "Jai Bharat," starting January 1.
Taking to Republic TV, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti's (PAAS) Hardik Patel said:
"The bigger question is that the education system is not up to the mark and efforts should be taken to improve it. On top of this, the education minister of Gujarat says that we will teach patriotism to the youth. This is Gujarat. Every kid of this soil is born with the love for the nation. No one can force anybody to say Jai Hind and Jai Bharat and even the constitution states the same. There is no point of teaching everyone. I think we should work towards improving education and not get diverted by these things. Building new schools is more important than asking people to say Jai Hind."
Rebutting Hardik Patel, Congress MP Alpesh Thakore said:
"What the problem if the kids are asked to say, Jai Hind and Jai Bharat? We should not have any problem in saying this. I think there is n problem if the kids say Jai Hind and Jai Bharat for attendance or otherwise also. I think we should focus on education but at the same, we should not have any problem in saying, Jai Hind and Jai Bharat. This is my point of view".
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit who has accused the BJP of 'Dhongi Rashtravaad' (roughly - sham patriotism), alleged that the decision has a background in the BJP (and its forerunners) not participating in the freedom movement:
Dikshit said, "Attendance is a formality to determine whether one is present in class. When names are taken, they respond. There's no problem with 'Jai Hind' and 'Jai Bharat' but to keep imposing it shows that the government doesn't believe people are patriotic. And I think this Gujarat government itself is being run by a party that isn't patriotic. They never accepted the national flag and the national song. They were always apologetic to the British raj. This is dhongi rashtrabhakti."
Meanwhile, the notification read:
The objective of the new practice is to "foster patriotism among students right from childhood".
The decision was taken by the state Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama in a review meeting held Monday. He said, "What's wrong in it? We have decided on it and the order will be implemented from today." Copies of the notification were sent to the district education officials with instructions to implement it from January 1.