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4 Gujarat education institutes make Bharat Mata ki Jai their rule

Institutions run by a trust headed by a BJP leader make it mandatory for students to write ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ in their application forms to secure admission.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2016 16:41 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times
Bharat Mata ki Jai,nationalism,Dilip Sanghani
A girl sells miniature tricolour flags waits for customers at the corner of a busy crossroad in Mumbai. A debate on what constitutes nationalism is currently on in the country. (AFP file photo)

Four Gujarat educational institutions linked to a BJP leader have made it mandatory for students seeking admission to write ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ in their application forms, a move that could potentially intensify a raging debate on nationalism.

BJP leader Dilip Sanghani, who heads the Shree Patel Vidhyarthi Ashram Trust that runs the educational institutions, confirmed the move on Monday and said it was aimed at instilling nationalism in the student community.

Hindu right-wing organisations led by the RSS and the ruling BJP at the Centre has made a case for chanting the slogan – that translates to ‘hail, mother India’ – as a way of proving an individual’s nationalism and patriotism, angering several sections including the Muslim community and some opposition parties.

Yoga guru Ramdev added fire to the issue by declaring on Sunday that if there were no law in the country he would behead all those who refuse to shout the slogan.

The three institutions including a college are located in Amreli city – around 250 km Ahmedabad -- in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

These institutes – MV Patel Kanya Vidhyalay, TP Mehta and MT Gandhi Girls’ High School, Patel Vidhyarthi Ashram, and DM Patel Physiotherapy College – collectively have 5,000 students.

The decision on the patriotic slogan was taken over the weekend ahead of the new academic session starting in June.

“The decision has been taken to instill nationalism in students at a young age at a time when we are witnessing anti-national sloganeering in campuses,” said Sanghani.

An event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, where anti-national slogans were allegedly shouted in February, had sparked the debate on patriotism and later turned into a bigger political battle.

The BJP leader said that the century-old trust was founded by freedom fighter Mohan Virji Patel and that legacy should be carried forward.

Sanghani was earlier mired in a controversy over a Rs 200-crore scam involving fishing contracts when he was the state agriculture minister.

State education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma, who was attending a BJP state executive meet, couldn’t be contacted for his comments.

The opposition Congress was quick to criticise the move.

“Till 2012, the TP Mehta and MT Gandhi Girls’ High School was known as Municipal Kanya School and was run by the Amreli municipality before its management was handed over to the trust. It is still functioning from the government building. This is nothing but the murder of the Constitution by the BJP leader,” said Amreli MLA Paresh Dhanani.

First Published: Apr 04, 2016 13:40 IST