The Asian Age

HRD moves to defuse row as al­lies op­pose

- AGE COR­RE­SPON­DENT

A day after the DMK and other po­lit­i­cal par­ties protested the Union gov­ern­ment’s move to cel­e­brate Teacher’s Day as “Guru Ut­sav”, HRD min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani on Mon­day rub­bished it say­ing it was the name of an es­say com­pe­ti­tion and won­dered whether those crit­i­cis­ing the move were do­ing it de­lib­er­ately for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons. She also re­jected the crit­i­cism that all stu­dents are be­ing forced to lis­ten to the Prime Min­is­ter’s speech on Septem­ber 5 on the oc­ca­sion of the Teacher’s Day say­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the in­ter­ac­tion is “vol­un­tary”.

Ms Irani stressed that Septem­ber 5 will con­tinue to be cel­e­brated as Teach­ers’ Day.

“This par­tic­u­lar ac­tiv­ity is vol­un­tary in na­ture. If it is be­ing politi­cised, then I would say it is re­gret­table… If the Prime Min­is­ter of a free In­dia does not have the free­dom to in­ter­act with stu­dents, then it is ridicu­lous,” she said.

On the “Guru Ut­sav”, which has met with op­po­si­tion from par­ties like the DMK, NDA al­lies MDMK and PMK, Ms Irani said her min­istry had sent a rep­re­sen­ta­tion to all states about an es­say com­pe­ti­tion un­der that ti­tle in their lan­guage. She claimed that over 1.3 lakh stu­dents have al­ready taken part in the contest.

“I don’t know how it all started. Those who are com­ment­ing ei­ther don’t know the facts or are do­ing it wil­fully for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons,” she said.

Mean­while, Congress spokesper­son Man­ish Te­wari termed the re­nam­ing of the day merely a “pack­ag­ing” ex­er­cise and said the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to “change pack­ag­ing and la­belling and then try­ing to pass them off as in­no­va­tive ini­tia­tives”.

If the es­say com­pe­ti­tion cel­e­brat­ing teach­ers is op­posed, “what ap­pals me that somebody who would not want teach­ers or the very foun­da­tion of our so­ci­ety to be revered and re­spected”, she told re­porters on the side­lines of a func­tion here.

“This par­tic­u­lar ac­tiv­ity is vol­un­tary in na­ture. If there is any con­tro­versy in this which is be­ing politi­cised, I would say it is re­gret­table,” she told re­porters when asked that some states were op­posed to the Cen­tre’s di­rec­tive to all states to en­sure ev­ery stu­dent hears the speech.

“It is an ab­so­lute cel­e­bra­tion of di­ver­sity of In­dia. Stu­dents can write about favourite teacher, the teacher who shaped their life. Sm­riti Irani also said that the HRD min­istry is plan­ning to cel­e­brate ‘ Mother Tongue’ day. An op­por­tu­nity is given to stu­dents to write in any lan­guage about their teach­ers,” she said.

 ?? — PTI ?? A group of Kash­miri pan­dits at Naran Naag tem­ple, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gan­der­bal dis­trict, on Mon­day be­fore leav­ing for Ganga­bal Lake, lo­cated high in the Har­mukh range.
— PTI A group of Kash­miri pan­dits at Naran Naag tem­ple, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gan­der­bal dis­trict, on Mon­day be­fore leav­ing for Ganga­bal Lake, lo­cated high in the Har­mukh range.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India