A Headmaster of a government school in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit 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.
The poem “Lab pe aati hai dua” was written in 1902 by poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal who also wrote the famous lines, “Sare jahan se achcha Hindustan hamara.” According to reports, the VHP complaint led to an inquiry which was conducted by Block Education Officer (BEO) Upendra Kumar. The inquiry revealed that the children in the school usually sang the poem during the morning assembly.
Iqbal was knighted in 1922 and he has been acclaimed as the father of Pakistan, and every year Iqbal Day is celebrated by Pakistanis. Pilibhit District Magistrate Vaibhav Srivastava said that the headmaster was suspended because he was not making the students sing the national anthem.
“If the headmaster wanted to teach another poem also to the student, he should have sought permission. If he makes student recite a poem and not the national anthem, then there is an offence against him,” the District Magistrate said. 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. “We gave a written complaint to the BSA demanding action against the headmaster for getting a different prayer recited at government school,” he said.
(With inputs from IANS)