In India, students are being directed to respond to school roll calls with patriotic salutations

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  • School students will need to reply to roll calls with a “Jai Hind”.
  • Madhya Pradesh School Education Minister, Vijay Shah, believes that this measure will “foster patriotism” in students.
  • The BJP government had earlier instructed all schools to hoist the country’s flag daily and to sing the national anthem.
In a bid to instil patriotism in children, the state of Madhya Pradesh in India will mandate school students to reply to roll calls with a “Jai Hind” instead of the plain old “Yes Sir” or “Here Ma’am”. The words “Jai Hind” roughly translates to "Victory to India".

The Madhya Pradesh School Education Minister, Vijay Shah, believes that this measure will “foster patriotism” in students and has directed all 1.22 lakh government schools in the state to strictly follow this order. While the directive is not compulsory for private schools, they will be issued an advisory in this regard.

They also had a trial run for this purpose wherein children attending schools in the state’s Satna district had to cry out “Jai Hind” from October 1, 2017.

Rahul Kothari, a spokesperson from India’s ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), applauded the move by saying, "It's a great initiative for instilling patriotism among students. We should look upon this in a positive manner." On the other hand, another spokesperson from the opposition, KK Mishra, from the Congress party, said patriotism cannot be forced onto people. Instead, he suggested that the “government should first think about the quality of education and lack of teachers in government schools."

The BJP government, big on patriotism, had earlier instructed all schools to hoist the country’s flag daily and to sing the national anthem as well.

A move similar to this was heavily criticised last year when the Centre issued a directive laying out how Independence Day should be ‘celebrated’ in schools. This order dictated that among other things, students belonging to Islamic educational institutions, Madrasas, had to sing the national song “Vande Mataram”. The Ministry of Human Resource Development also ordered schools to conduct quiz contests, lectures and debates and as proof that this was followed, they were asked to submit corroborating videos the office of Sarva Shiksha Mission (SSM) by 31 August 2017.

The West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee, vehemently opposed this directive and the state government issued a counter-circular clearly stating that Independence Day 2017 “will not be celebrated” in the manner directed by the Centre.
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