A 15-year-old Muslim boy’s case has stirred the hornet’s nest after he was punished for not singing a few Sanskrit shlokas by his principal. According to a report in Hindustan Times, the incident took place in south Bengaluru school.
When the principal of the school noticed that the boy and some of his other Muslim friends weren’t singing the shlokas the principal asked the group to come up on stage and sing it. The boy is quoted saying: “I was humiliated in front of 1,200 students and my constitutional right was violated. She made us go on stage and forced us to sing the prayer in front of everybody. She scolded me in front of everyone on the mike when I mispronounced a few Sanskrit words.”
The boy’s mother, along with activists of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, approached the principal and tried to file a complaint. However, the principal acted like she did not understand what the fuss was about and kept saying that the prayer was important to instil values and discipline in students.
The principal even suggested that the boy was turning into a fundamentalist Muslim since he was from Bhatkal (a Muslim-dominated area in Karnataka). Following the furore, the boy has been allowed to sit in class during the assembly but he’s still not happy with the development.
He has pointed out that 14 out of the 32 students in his class are Muslims, as is 30% of the school. The student is also the head boy of the school and says that he does not feel comfortable anymore since he refused to sing the prayer. He, however, added that many of his Hindu friends stood by his side.
The principal, Padmaja Menon, however defended her stance saying that there was nothing wrong with the prayers, one of which invokes the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. She was quoted assaying: “But Brahma is the creator of the universe. What is wrong in invoking his name?”