In an act of extreme intolerance, a Christian school in Bengaluru expelled a 3 year old LKG student just because the child had a shikha (long tuft or lock of hair on the top or back of the head) as part of his family’s Hindu religious traditions. The principal of the school, Paul D’Souza, dismissed the pleas of the boy’s father, and justified the expulsion saying that the school rules did not allow such ‘superstitious practices’.
The case is from St. Vincent Pallotti School, Baabusaab Palya (Bengaluru), where Vishnu BM a student of LKG was expelled on June 6. His father, Manjunath BC was called to school by the Principal Fr. Paul D’Souza and was told that boys were not allowed to have a ‘ponytail’ in the school and his hair needs to be cut if he wants to continue studying in the school.
Manjunath’s family offers the shikha of male children to their family deity Malleshwara at a temple in Bagepalli in Chikballapur. When Manjunath tried to explain the religious significance of his son’s ponytail, as it is a family custom for them to not cut the shikha till the boy reaches the age of five after which the lock of hair is offered to their family deity, the Principal refused to understand and told the father not to hold such ‘superstitious beliefs’.
“I requested the principal to allow us to keep it, but he was adamant. He said he would not allow Vishnu or us, his parents, to enter the school premises,” said Manjunath. “He returned the fees of Rs 43,000 and sent us out of the school. I fell at the principal’s feet, pleading with him to let my son continue, but he refused,” said Manjunath.
Since June 7, Manjunath has gone to more than a dozen schools in the city , but hasn’t been able to get a seat as admissions are closed. Manjunath pointed out, “We will have to wait for another year to admit our son in LKG in some other school.”
When Fr. Paul D’Souza was asked about this incident, he said, “I told him not to hold such superstitious beliefs. Following such practices is against our school rules, we can’t have different rules for different children.”
Christian Exclusivism and Intolerance towards Hindu Dharma
Calling Hindu Dharma and its socio-religious customs as “superstition” is a an old tactic used by Christians, especially the missionaries and priestly class which runs most convents/Christian schools in Bharat. Can Principal Paul D’Souza explain why keeping a shikha is superstition, but central tenets of the Christian faith are not? Below is a sample of some of these core Christian beliefs which can easily be called superstitions as per D’Souza’s standards –
- A dead Jesus got resurrected
- Wine is turned into the ‘blood of God/Jesus’ – and Christians think they are drinking the blood of Jesus/God during Church service!
- Pouring water over your head in Baptism removes ‘original sin’
- That Jesus had to incarnate to save mankind because Adam and Eve ate an apple (because a snake, without a human voice-box, convinced Eve to do so) and cursed humanity to hell.
- Even if you are like Hitler and manage to say you are very sorry for your sins before you die, you will go to heaven!
- ‘Idol worshippers’ like Hindus will go to hell for eternity- trillion, trillions of years in tortuous hellfire – irrespective of any good deeds they did.
- ‘God’ created the heaven and the earth in six days, starting with darkness and light on the first day, and ending with the creation of mankind on the sixth day. God then rests on, blesses and sanctifies the seventh day. And all this ‘creation’ work of the Earth and the entire Universe was done around 10,000 years ago (there is even a ‘Insititue for Creation Research’ established in US by fundamentalist Christians!)
Christians see Hindu Dharma as a religion based on myths and superstitions; in one of our previous articles you can see how Christian parents in US found “Yoga incompatible with Christian spirituality”. Yoga, which is a Hindu practice that has spread across the world promoting good health and peace of mind, was found unacceptable by these American parents just because of the gesture of ‘Namaste’.
Christian missionary schools in Bharat have a long history of persecuting Hindu students for showing even the slightest attachment to their socio-religious practices. This blog captures the harsh reality of the regular injustices faced by Hindu students – from being made to stand in the sun and forced to rub mehandi from their hands, to being fined for lighting diyas during Diwali. One can imagine the inferiority complex ingrained in these young minds due to such denigration of their beliefs.
Administrative Apathy Towards the Hindu parents
The State Government education authorities which clamp down heavily on Hindu run schools for any alleged violation of the draconian RTE are mute over this flagrant human rights violation of a Hindu child and his family.
“We will check and the department will decide on the course of action in a couple of days. We are waiting for a complaint from the parents,” was the standard bureaucratese offered by K Anand, primary education director, department of public instruction.
Apathy of Hindu Society towards such Persecution
But in the end the buck stops with Hindus themselves. Unless we learn how to stand up and oppose the discrimination and persecution we face at the hands of Abrahamists (Christian and Islamic fundamentalists), communists and garden-variety secularists, such incidents will not end. Lets assume the student who was expelled was a young Sikh boy wearing a patka/turban or a Muslim girl wearing a hijab? Would it be just the concerned parents taking up cudgels or the entire community would have stepped forward?
The answer is not comforting, but we must face up to the hard reality that Hindus lack the consciousness to see the larger design against them, their traditions, and their civilizational way of life. Bharat is a Hindu majority nation only in numbers; our core institutions like media, executive, judiciary are either apathetic to Hindu sensitivities or actively opposed to them. This battle has to be fought by ordinary Hindus. Of course, acts like RTE which openly discriminate against Hindu run schools and incentivize admissions to Christian schools also have to be fought tooth and nail.
It’s a shame that little Vishnu has suffered a loss of one whole academic year, due to this unjust expulsion. It is time that Hindu parents woke up to this reality and start questioning the wisdom of sending their wards to Christian schools where the children might end up getting psychologically scarred for life.