What is your view on the Kendriya Vidyalaya prayer case?

Answer by Subhayan Purkayastha

For those who don’t know what the case is all about, here are some of the details from the case in brief:

  • PIL was filed by Mr. Veenayak Shah, advocate from Madhya Pradesh.
  • The petition argues that the Kendriya Vidyalaya school prayer promotes Hinduism, which is in violation with the constitution.

(Pic: KV No. 2, Itanagar. My school 🙂 )

Let’s first understand what the constitution states. As per the Article 28 of the Indian constitution:

Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions

(1) No religion instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds

(2) Nothing in clause ( 1 ) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution

(3) No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto Cultural and Educational Rights

Now, what we need to see is whether the prayer really violates any of the above. Let’s analyse, shall we?

The prayer starts with

“Asto Maa Sadgamaya Tamso Maa Jyotir Gamaya Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya”

which can be translated to

(O Lord) Keep me not in the Unreality (of the bondage of the Phenomenal World), but lead me towards the Reality (of the Eternal Self),
(O Lord) Keep me not in the Darkness (of Ignorance), but lead me towards the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
(O Lord) Keep me not in the (Fear of) Death (due to the bondage of the Mortal World), but lead me towards the Immortality(gained by the Knowledge of the Immortal Self beyond Death)

Then there is a line in the prayer which reads

“Watan ke waaste jeena, watan ke waaste marna, watan par jaan fida karna, prabhu humko sikha dena”

which can be translated to

“Teach us, O lord, to live for the nation ,die for the nation and to sacrifice our entire life for the nation”

Then finally the prayer concludes with:

Saha nāvavatu saha nau bhunaktu Saha vīryam karavāvahai

Tejasvi nāvadhītamastu Mā vidviṣāvahai

Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ

which can be translated to

May we all be protected

May we all be nourished

May we work together with great energy

May our intelect be sharpened (may our study be effective)

Let there be no Animosity amongst us

Om, peace , peace , peace

Please go through the entire prayer and you won’t find anything apart from these two shlokas in Sanskrit which remotely relates to Hinduism. And as far as the shlokas are concerned, they by no means “propagate Hinduism”. I have been a student of KV and I have sang it for years along with my friends who were Christian, Muslims, Hindus etc. Nobody had a problem. The prayer no way undermines anyone’s faith.

It is only in recent years that every freaking thing is being associated with religion and secularism. Every damn thing! In the veil of secularism, such people only spread communal hatred.

These are just kids. They don’t distinguish or discriminate. Don’t poison their mind by bringing in such ridiculous arguments just for the sake of your personal gain.

Thanks for Reading!!!!

Footnote:

Article 28 in The Constitution Of India 1949

Om Sahana vavatu shanti mantra Lyrics and meaning

Om Asato Ma Sadgamaya – In sanskrit with meaning

SC questions mandatory prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas

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