A message from a schoolgirl left me deeply ashamed today. I don’t recall being so ashamed of someone else’s actions. We won’t be able to look our children in the eye if we don’t learn to identify the merchants of hatred among us and stop those infected by it. The schoolgirl wrote how a teacher shared a communal message in the class group, half of whom are Hindus and half are Muslims. With these young kids, the Hindi teacher shared a disturbing video with a divisive message, the girl said.
A boy is seen holding a knife to a girl’s throat in the video. “I studied the video on my part and found it is wrongly blaming a Muslim boy. So, she is actually spreading fake news and creating communal discord among the students. I am seeking your intervention,” the schoolgirl wrote. In a country that worships its teachers and celebrates Teachers’ Day every year, a teacher is broadcasting the Hindu-Muslim debate to her students.
Posting the video, the Hindi teacher wrote that the boy is a Muslim and is trying to kill the girl because she is refusing to convert to Islam. Then there is an appeal: “Jaago (Wake up) Hindu, it’s time to be united. We have to save the future of our children.” I have seen a screenshot of the teacher’s WhatsApp message.
The video is from Gujarat but is being shared in schools of Delhi with a communal tone. A young girl is researching if it’s real or fake. Imagine the effect it must have had on her mind. Couldn’t the teacher have done the research? Any terrible act can have people from two communities involved. Does that mean it will be used like this to influence children? At some point later, the principal of the school weighed in on the teacher’s message: A mistake has been made, it will not happen again. The teacher has also apologised. I guess she can be afforded one chance.
Since the teacher has apologised to the children, I would like to believe her. All of us have accidentally sent messages to the wrong group so an apology seems sufficient. But still, it should be checked out. The principal should check with the students if the teacher has made any communal comments or suggestions in the past. And do other teachers share such messages in their school groups? A report card about the mentality of teachers is in order.
I haven’t named the teacher, the student, her father, or the school in Delhi. But the last line of her message is hard to gloss over: “I’m seeking ur intervention.”
Dear ma’am, please stay away from people who send you such hate-filled messages. Even if it’s your husband. A person who hates others so much, cannot love you either. These students are your children. Hold them close to your heart. Whether they are Hindus, Muslims or any other religion. How old are students of 8th or 9th grades? Don’t you feel like embracing them? The love a student has for teachers can last a lifetime.
A teacher from Udaipur who once taught in my school in Patna sent an old photo of my teachers today. It had my fifth-grade class teacher Gracy Michael. Just one sight of her was enough to bring back a smile. This is the kind of relationship between teachers and pupils. It got me emotional even to see the ones who were hard on me. That is why I implore you to stay away from such acts.
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