KEONJHAR: Unusual it may sound, Sunday is not a holiday for about 40 schools in Keonjhar district. For the students, Monday happens to be their weekly holiday. The unheard of, and perhaps unique, practice is in vogue as a matter of tradition respected by the locals. Surprisingly, they moved the High Court __ for the second time the matter has landed in the court __ against a recent Government directive to avail the weekly holiday on Sunday. Teachers and students, when queried, just cannot explain as to why Monday is a holiday here. “We have been following the old tradition,” said a teacher.
These schools fall in Hatisila, Podapatana, Narangpur, Dandipaka, Anlapal, Baripal, Khaliamenta, Balarampur, Kesadurapal, Balipal, Deogaon, Raipur, Taradipal, Talakalandi, Badamal, Kansa, Dandipala, Suapur, Radhikadeipur and Bhandaridiha villages under Ghasipur block. Earlier, the high schools too were following the practice but now only primary schools have classes on Sunday.
Villagers attribute this to weekly markets that create too much cacophony. Some others reason out that locals offer puja to Kushaleswar Mahadev every Monday and hence they do not send their children to schools on this day.
“Deogaon is a big weekly market. Villagers and even teachers purchase valuables for the entire week,” a retired teacher, Bhaskar Chandra Mishra, said. “Besides, due to heavy rush and noise, it is difficult to take classes on Monday.”
Interestingly, the district officials have made several visits to these schools on Sundays. Sub-Collector Sadashiv Das, who along with Collector D V Swami recently visited some schools, said the locals and teachers attribute this to old custom. “We have intimated the Education department about this,” Das said.
Sources said the Government had directed these schools to follow the normal practice in 1991. But the locals moved the High Court and got a favourable verdict. DI of Schools, Chaturbhuja Sethi, however, said there is no document to support the claim. After the launching of Right To Education, he had served a circular asking them to observe Sunday as holiday, but the villagers have again filed a petition in the High Court.