A government school Principal has forced children to erase Vibhuti, Kumkum in Tamil Nadu. When parents asked why she asked them not to sport Hindu symbols she claimed that there is Government Order(GO) banning it. After the parents’ complaint, the Principal Education Officer(PEO) has sought a reply from the Principal.
A video of parents arguing with a school Principal for forcing their children to erase Vibhuti (sacred ash), and Kumkum has gone viral on social media. Hindu outfits and BJP cadres went to the school along with the parents and questioned the Principal. A 8th grade boy studying at the Kasthuri Reddiar Model Higher Secondary School in Oddanchatram, Dindigul was asked not to wear the sacred symbols.
In the video the principal can be heard saying, “I only said that there is a government rule not permitting it. Isn’t that what I said? Did I threaten you? Didn’t I say that we’ve received a Government Order not permitting wearing a ‘pottu’ (bindi)? Didn’t I ask you to look at the notice outside? How many times have I told you?” to the student.
Later when others questioned whether there really is a GO issued to such an extent, she says, “Yes there is a GO saying students should not wear pottu(bindi) and threads”. There was a GO asking schools to ban kids from wearing kalawa alleging that it is used to identify from which jati they belong to. The affected child’s parent says in another video that he inquired other teachers he knew about the so-called GO and they replied in negative.
He appears to have gone to the school and questioned the teacher first and before he could return after consulting with a lawyer, the kid was again forced to erase the Vibhuti he was wearing that day. The boy’s sister was also forced to erase Vibhuti. The boy in another video says that the teacher told him to erase the Vibhuti. She also said, “It should be my face that you see every time you wear it(Vibhuti)” in a threatening manner to discourage him from ever sporting the sacred symbols.
Parents and others who questioned the Principal can be heard asking, “Your staff themselves are sporting such symbols. Why do you ban kids from doing the same?”. Principal Nirmala is allegedly a Christian by faith. Parents have lodged a complaint with the Educational Department officials and an investigation has been ordered. Principal Educational Officer Nasruddin told Hindu Tamil that there is no order banning school kids from wearing “pottu” and that they have sought an explanation from Principal Nirmala.
It is yet to be seen whether the DMK government will recognise this as a Hinduphobic act or change the definition of “pottu” as it could mean anything from a sticker to Kumkuma to Urdhvapundra.