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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Learning slogans from Left stir near school, kids raise banner of revolt at home

Junior students at prestigious Shimla school got hooked on slogans raised by sacked workers during month-long dharna

education Updated: Apr 30, 2017 09:29 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times
Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu
Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu(HT)

Sushant Deshta, a Sanjauli-based trader, was used to his five-year-old son procrastinating or making innocent excuses on being asked to do some petty house chore.

But he was taken aback one day when pat came young Manvik’s reply: “Yeh manmaani nahin chalegi (This injustice won’t do).”

Sushant is like many other parents who were alarmed when suddenly their children started pelting them with such slogans or were seen practising these at home.

Incidentally, all the kids were studying in the prestigious Auckland House School for Boys.

On making enquiries, the parents realised the children were getting inspiration from an ongoing protest of workers outside the school.

A Left-backed trade union had been sitting on a dharna against the school administration after 37 lower-rung employees were sacked. They included sweepers, kitchen workers and gardeners.

The slogans these protesters raised during the month-long dharna became a source of amusement for the boys studying in junior classes.

“The children memorised all the slogans and even recited these at home,” said Sushant.

Manvik, who studies in lower kindergarten, said he remembers some slogans as they are just like his nursery ryhmes. “Hosh me aao, hosh me aao (Come to your senses),” he said is his favourite.

A school employee, requesting anonymity, said some kids were also heard shouting “Murdabad!” while playing on the school ground.

Admn came to the rescue

Parents and the school administration heaved a sigh of relief when the district administration imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) outside the school, thereby prohibiting an assembly of more than four people in the area, earlier this month.

School principal Michael John said the protest was uncalled for. “We had outsourced some works and our contract with that firm ended. The affected workers belonged to the firm. Some union leaders instigated the employees and staged protests outside the school.”

The principal said he had no problem with what happened outside until the protests starting vitiating the school’s atmosphere. “Some parents complained to me that their children were behaving unruly at home and shouting slogans. Also, the sloganeering was affecting studies in the school,” he said.

Trade union leader Vijender Mehra, who had been leading the protests, said: “We were not breaking any law. We were just raising our demands.” Defending the protesters, he said: “Children memorise whatever they hear. Not only slogans, they hear many negative things in a day.”

Shimla deputy commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur said Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed outside the school based on reports of the crime investigation department. “There was no request from the school administration,” he said.

First Published: Apr 30, 2017 09:29 IST

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