India’s School Headmaster Suspended for Making Students Sing Allama Iqbal’s Poem

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The headmaster of a government school in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit,  india,  was suspended following the complaint by the local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang leaders that students were singing “Lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri’ in the morning prayers.

According to an inquiry by Bisalpur’s Block Education Officer (BEO) Upendra Kumar, the suspended headmaster, Furqan Ali, 45, made students recite the poem “lab pe aati hai dua”, written in 1902 by Muhammad Iqbal.

Inquiry which was conducted by Block Education Officer (BEO) Upendra Kumar also revealed that the children in the school usually sang the poem during the morning assembly.

Pilibhit District Magistrate Vaibhav Srivastava said that the headmaster was suspended because he was not making the students sing the national anthem.

The suspended headmaster Furqan Ali, 45, however, denied the allegations.

“Students regularly sing the national anthem and the poem by Iqbal is part of the Urdu syllabus for classes one to eight. 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 the government school syllabus, sung. My students also raise patriotic slogans such as ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ every day during the assembly,” he said.

The Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) of Pilibhit, Devendra Swarup, meanwhile, said that the complaint by VHP and Bajrang Dal members was not against whether the national anthem is sung or not—it was an objection against the poem by Iqbal.

VHP’s district chief, Ambarish Misra, said he opposed a ‘madrasa prayer’ being recited at a government primary school.

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