Rajasthan govt asks schools to celebrate 'Ramlala Pran Pratishtha Day' annually

The Bhajan Lal Sharma government claims this initiative will foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultural heritage among students.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma
Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal SharmaPhoto | EPS

JAIPUR: In a move that raises questions on the extent of ‘Saffronisation’ in education, government schools in Rajasthan have been directed by the Bhajan Lal Sharma-led BJP government to celebrate 'Ramlala Pran Pratishtha Day' annually.

The Pran-Pratishtha ceremony of the Ram temple, built over the 16th-century Babri Masjid after its violent demolition by 'kar sevaks', was held in Ayodhya on January 22 this year. To commemorate this event, State Education Minister Madan Dilawar has announced that January 22 will be celebrated as Ramlala Pran Pratishtha Day in all government schools across Rajasthan. The date has been officially included in the education department's annual calendar and its list of festival days.

The new calendar recently launched by School Education Minister Madan Dilawar does not specify how this day will be celebrated and what exactly the students will have to do on this day. However, according to the new educational calendar, students will be informed about the significance of the day and encouraged to engage in discussions and create artwork depicting its importance. The calendar shares general directions whereby students will be informed about the importance of the day and drawings will be made by students depicting the Ram Temple Pran-Pratishtha ceremony on that particular day.

The Bhajan Lal Sharma government claims this initiative will foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultural heritage among students.

However, experts have raised concerns about this move, viewing it as an attempt to further saffronize education. Some analysts suggest that the BJP is leveraging the popularity of the Ram temple for political gains. They argue that the move aims to keep the issue of the Ram Temple alive despite not achieving the desired results in the Lok Sabha elections.

Sources within the party indicate that the BJP believes it did not campaign effectively on the Ram Mandir issue and is now attempting to compensate through such decisions.

This decision comes at a critical time for Rajasthan's political landscape. The BJP, which had won all 25 seats in the last two Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and 2019, was reduced to 14 seats in the recent elections. With by-elections approaching for assembly seats vacated by five Congress MLAs who became MPs, it could be a litmus test for the political career of Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma.

Despite the BJP's underwhelming performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Chief Minister Bhajan Lal has not faced criticism from the party's high command, as the elections were largely fought on the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, experts believe that any setbacks in the upcoming by-elections could lead to stern action from the party’s central leadership. This is believed to have led to initiatives like the Ramlala Pran Pratishtha Day, through which Chief Minister Bhajan Lal is striving to improve the image and reputation of his government.

Additionally, the festival of Raksha Bandhan will also be celebrated in government schools every year. The students when they celebrate Raksha Bandhan in school, will tie the 'Raksha Sutra' to each other a day before the festival. As this year's Raksha Bandhan falls on August 19 which is a Monday, the festival will be celebrated on Saturday, August 17 across all the schools.

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