NEW DELHI – The Rajasthan government’s decision to celebrate the ‘Ramlala Pran Pratishtha Diwas’ as an annual festival in all government schools has drawn flak from various quarters..

The government recently released a calendar that includes Ram temple inauguration day (January 22)  as a festival to be celebrated in government schools across the state.

Under the new directive announced by the state’s Education Minister Madan Dilawar, students will be educated about the significance of this day and encouraged to engage in discussions and create artwork that reflects the event.

The government’s decision has faced severe criticism from various social organisations, who argue that it undermines the secular nature of the Indian state. The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has been particularly vocal in its opposition.

In a joint statement, Bhanwar Meghvanshi, President of the PUCL’s Rajasthan chapter, and General Secretary Anant Bhatnagar, have expressed their disapproval. “The decision to celebrate the consecration of the Ram temple in government schools is inspired by communal sentiments and promotes a particular agenda. It is unfortunate that the state’s Education Minister Madan Dilawar has been involved in the communalisation of educational institutions from the very beginning. This decision is a step in the same process,” the statement read.

The PUCL has emphasised that the move contradicts the principles of secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution and the National Education Policy. “This is playing with the sentiments of other communities. The Constitution and National Education Policy make secularism in government institutions a fundamental principle. It is the responsibility of the government to follow harmony among all religions in educational institutions and inspire students for this,” said Meghvanshi.

“Linking a work done from a political point of view with religion is inconsistent and it will spread wrong information among the future generation,” he further added. The PUCL has demanded that the Rajasthan government immediately withdraw this anti-constitutional and communal decision.”

In addition to ‘Ramlala Pran Pratishtha Diwas’, the state government has also decided to celebrate the festival of Rakshabandhan annually in government schools.

The debate over the introduction of these festivals continues, highlighting the ongoing tension between religious celebration and secular education in India’s diverse society.